Specialty Grocer Caters to Muslim Americans

November 9, 2006

Author: Odil Ruzaliev

Source: Voice of America News


The continuing influx of immigrants to the United States has meant a proliferation of shops, restaurants and other businesses catering to specific ethnic clienteles. For producer Odil Ruzaliev, VOA's [Voice of America] Jim Bertel has more on businesses reaching out to Muslims living in the U.S.

There are believed to be between five and seven million Muslims living in the United States. One of the challenges they face is reconciling their identities as both Muslims and Americans. This dual identify affects their lives in many ways from praying to buying groceries.

Islamic dietary laws provide a set of rules as to what Muslims may eat. As the number of Muslims in the U.S. has grown, so have the number of stores catering to their needs. These stores are known as Halal stores. Halal means lawful in Arabic, which in turn means meat sold in the stores comes from animals slaughtered according to Islamic practice. The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America says there are close to 1,000 Halal stores and restaurants in the United States.

Among these is the Halalco Supermarket near Washington, D.C. Muhammad Abdul-Mateen is the owner. "We have, maybe, everyday about 200 to 300 customers."