Following Islamic sharia law is now as easy as ordering a beef gyro at the new Halal Guys restaurant located in suburban Nashville. Started as a New York City hot dog pushcart Halal Guys has grown into a franchise business with locations nationally and internationally.
The chain was founded by Mohammed Abouelenein, Abdelbaset Elsayed and Ahmed Elsaka who all immigrated to the U.S. from Egypt.
The eatery claims it’s “American Halal” menu using meat that is slaughtered following strict Islamic law, is somehow unique. The Halal Guys also claim that the meat they serve comes from humanely treated livestock and suggest that eating meat slaughtered according to Islamic law amounts to an “ethical” choice.
Islamic sharia law prescribes specific steps that must be followed for meat to be considered “halal,” or lawful for Muslims to consume. The rules are detailed in the English language version of Islamic sharia law, The Reliance of the Traveller, A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law. This compilation has been authenticated by The Fiqh Council of North America which issues religious rulings to guide Muslims in North America, and Al-Ahzar University in Cairo, the preeminent teaching center of sharia law.
Halal certifiers whose foods are used by the Halal Guys are linked on their website so that diners can feel assured that they are eating in compliance with Islamic law. Halal Food Council USA, is one of the listed certifiers:
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
This is to certify that the product displayed”Moultaire Farms Halal Poultry Parts” has been slaughtered at USDA inspected P#667 (Shelbyville-DE) & P#03 (Millsboro-DE) fully committed to Halal production, in its both facilities and shifts in accordance with Islamic rules & contains Halal ingredients and lawful for Muslim consumption.
1. Use of Muslim slaughterman as prescribed by Islamic code (Shariah Law)
2. The reciting of “Bismillaah” prior to switching on the mechanical knife (single sharp blade) and during the slaughter of poultry by the Muslim slaughterman (cutting Trachea, Esophagus, fugular veins. & Carotid arteries without touching the Spinal cord,for a full hemorrhage)
[Bismillah Allahu Akbar – In the Name of Allah; Allah is the Greatest.]
3. Production procedures & supervision throughout the process by a Muslirn supervisor to prevent contamination (non-halal product)
4. Halal product Boxes to have Halal Food Council Stickers
5. This certificate applies only to the raw slaughtered products and not for any further processing or restaurant.
Halal certifying organizations claim that Islamic rules offer one of the more humane ways of slaughtering animals. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), however, disagrees and has posted a video from a Belgium halal slaughterhouse in it’s blog post titled, The Cruelty Behind Muslim Ritual Slaughter.
A school textbook titled What Islam Is All About included in a video about Annoor Academy, a private Islamic school in Knoxville, teaches students about the virtues of eating according to Islamic law. Despite denigrating Christians, the textbook acknowledges that Muslims can lawfully eat meat made kosher by Jews:
Only animals killed in a Kosher way by observant Jews follows similar guidelines to ours. The non-Jews and non-Muslims in the world have no guidelines that are humane, clean and sanitary.
Even further, the Qur’an gives the definition of what the characteristics of a recognized Jew and Christian are. According to 2:62, an authentic Jew or Christian is somebody who ‘believes in Allah, the Last Day and does good deeds…’
Furthermore, in ayah 5:72, Allah calls people who believe that ‘Esa is a god as unbelievers. Most churches in the world today teach that very thing, so those people are not ‘Christians’ according to the teachings of the Prophet ‘Esa and the Qu’ran!
Most people in the world with Western or Christian-sounding names do not fit the description of a true Christian, even by the standards of the Bible, so it is not right that we call them Christians…
It is highly unlikely that the man working at the slaughterhouse practices any form of Christianity. If you eat meat slaughtered by him, you are eating meat slaughtered by a kafir who is a rebel against Allah!
A 2012 paper authored by Memphis Imam Yasir Qadhi presented at an Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America meeting confirms that Jewish kosher laws, being stricter than Islamic laws, generally permits Muslims to consume kosher meat but that Jewish dietary laws do not allow Jews to eat halal products.
The demand for halal food in the U.S. is forecasted to reach a U.S. market value of $26.8 billion dollars by 2021 up from $22.6 billion in 2016.
Demand for halal food or at a minimum, pork-free food spaces because of the sharia proscription against consuming pork, has begun to change practices in publicly financed places such as state prisons and public schools. When the religious dictates of Islam cross the boundary from personal observance to public imposition such as removing all pork products from the St. Paul Minnesota school cafeterias and from the menu of Ohio prisons the author of Sharia Law for Non-Muslims, Bill Warner, says these are examples of “political sharia.”
Warner illustrates the issue this way – “kosher for Jews means they don’t eat pork; halal for Muslims means that nobody eats pork.”
Certainly not at the Halal Guys restaurant.
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Chris Alto is an investigative reporter at The Tennessee Star.