TORONTO – As halal food gain new foothold in world markets, a large Canadian Muslims market is facing growing problems over inconsistent halal standards that left halal consumers facing woes of purchasing items with fake halal labeling.
“Halal is really important to uphold a Muslim’s spirituality,” Omar Subedar, a Toronto-area imam who serves as the secretary general and official spokesperson of the Halal Monitoring Authority, told Global News.
“The acceptance of our worship in the eyes of God is dependent on it, that we’re only consuming Halal,” he added.
|Concept of Halal Meat|
In a growing Canadian Muslim community, meeting the needs of customers for halal meat was creating a growing challenge.
Coupled with a lack of oversight opened the door for exploitation, some abbatoirs and meat producers have opened the door for exploitation by offering products with fake halal mark.
“As the Muslim community grows here in Canada, and specifically the GTA, you’re going to see a lot of people now demanding Halal products,” says Subedar.
” There are people that do feel they can take advantage of this.”
According to Subedar, fears for the new challenges appeared after he was first tipped off to the scams years ago by sources inside the meat producing itself.
Ignoring the worrying information at the beginning, the imam organized a task force along with a group of his peers which carried several investigations.
“We came across a lot of things that made us lose our sleep,” Subedar said.
For example, they found a meat producer who was sticking his own halal labels on meat he offered to a Muslim client.
“He slapped it on and next thing you know, when we were doing our investigations in all of these supermarkets, which grocery stores that carry halal products, lo and behold, that stuff is there and people are buying it.”
These investigations led to the founding of Halal Monitoring Authority (HMA), a department of the Jami’yyatul Ulama Canada, Canadian Council of Muslim Theologians (CCMT).
Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada’s 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the country.
The concept of halal, — meaning permissible in Arabic — has traditionally been applied to food.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.
Originally Published on http://www.onislam.net