Halal Options Increase for Muslims in South Florida

October 20, 2005

Source: The Miami Herald


On October 20, 2005 The Miami Herald reported, "Ten years ago, access to halal meat was so limited in South Florida that hand slaughter or vegetarian meals were among the few ways Muslims here could remain faithful to Islam's dietary laws -- a vital consideration during the holy month of Ramadan, when daily fasts are broken with evening feasts.

'It was a huge problem,' said Altaf Ali, the South Florida director for the Council for American Islamic Relations. 'You would find a lot of Muslims eating kosher because the resources were so limited.'

But local halal options have multiplied along with South Florida's Muslim community, which now counts some 130,000 adherents from the Middle East, South Asia, the Caribbean, North Africa and Latin America.

About 50 area restaurants and grocery stores sell halal items, according to Shahed Amanullah, creator of zabihah.com, a website that reviews halal outlets. Nationwide, the number has grown from just 300 in 1999 to 3,500 today, he said. During Ramadan, which ends Nov. 4, his site claims 4,000 unique users a day... In a string of strip malls along University Drive in Plantation, a cluster of Muslim-owned businesses make up what regulars call 'the Middle Eastern village.' Stores with names like Cleopatra Boutique, Babylon Jewelry and Adam Travel post blinking 'Happy Ramadan' signs in their windows."