ASSALAAMU ALAIKUM WA RAHMATULLAH Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
Labbaik ALLAHuma Labbaik, labbaik la sharika laka labbaik, in-nal-hamda wan-ni'mata laka, wal-mulka la sharika lak. (This means, I respond to Your Call, O ALLAH, I respond to Your Call and I am obedient to Your Orders, You have no partner, I respond to Your Call, All praises, thanks and blessings are for You, All sovereignty is for You, And You have no partners.)
Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri, radiya ALLAHu anhu, narrated that the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, said: "The people will continue performing the Hajj and Umrah to the Kaaba even after the coming out of Ya-juj and Ma-juj (Gog and Magog)." (This is a message that Hajj will be performed until the end of life on Earth. What a call our beloved Prophet, Ibrahim, alaihis salaam, made; the call which is heard around the globe and until the end of life on Earth!)
Umm Al-Fadl, radiya ALLAHu anha, narrated that the people doubted whether the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, was observing the Saum (fast) on the day of Arafat, so I sent something for him to drink and he drank it. (This shows one should not fast on the day of Arafat if they are performing Hajj. However, if one is not performing Hajj, they are encouraged to fast, as indicated in another Hadith.)
Ibn 'Abbas, radiya ALLAHu anhu, narrated that the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, said: "No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhul Hijjah)." Then some companions of the Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, asked, 'Not even Jihad?' He replied, "Not even Jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for ALLAH's sake, i.e. with his life and property) and does not return with any of those things (i.e., is martyred)." (This shows the blessings placed in these days of Hajj. Let us make every effort to take advantage of the blessings.)
IFANCA is gearing up once again to participate in the 10th Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Drive sponsored by Sabeel Food Pantry and AMAL (American Muslims for Activism and Learning). Last year, over 600 Turkeys were distributed to needy families at Emmett Till Academy (formerly McCosh Elementary School) on 65th and Champlain in Chicago and to families in Marquette Park.
"…The Muslim community of Chicago has risen to a need every autumn - to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves celebrate Thanksgiving, the national holiday that all Americans regardless of faith share in celebration. Together, we have given thousands of turkeys over these years to families who would otherwise go without," said Dr. Jihad Soshara, AMAL Board Member.
Besides co-sponsoring the drive, Sabeel Food Pantry, an IFANCA operation at 3031 W. Belmont Ave. has served the community since 2003. With the help of community volunteers, the pantry coordinates and distributes the turkeys. Sabeel is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in the state of Illinois; all contributions are tax deductible. To donate via PayPal, visit www.sabeelpantry.org, click on "Donate" and mention 'Thanksgiving Turkey Drive' to earmark your donations. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Farhat Quadri, IFANCA Community Relations Director at email@example.com.
Proper Turkey Preparation:
Turkeys must be thawed at a safe temperature. Though, frozen turkey is safe for long periods of time, thawing above 40°F may cause bacteria present before freezing to begin to grow again.
Frozen turkeys should be stored in the freezer immediately after purchase. When ready to use, the turkey should be thawed in the refrigerator, in the microwave or in cold water. The water should be changed every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. If the turkey is thawed in the refrigerator, it may be refrozen without cooking. However, if thawed in the microwave or in cold water, it should be cooked immediately after thawing.
USDA or State inspected frozen turkeys that are purchased stuffed should be cooked frozen. They should not be thawed before cooking.
When cooking a turkey, it is not necessary to preheat the oven. The turkey should be cooked at a temperature of at least 325°F. The cooked turkey should reach at least 180°F in all parts. Check this with a thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh. Stuffing must reach at least 165°F.
Mr. Mohiuddin joined IFANCA this past summer as a Customer Service Specialist. His past professional work experiences include working as a Senior Research and Development Engineer with Cardinal Health and Engineering Specialist with Baxter Health Care. Mr. Mohiuddin currently holds a MBA from Roosevelt University and MS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is the recipient of numerous academic and professional recognitions, Six Sigma Certified, and a Licensed Professional Engineer.
Mr. Mohiuddin seeks to streamline the halal certification process and specifically would like to make the customer service experience insightful and engaging. His top priority is exceeding customer expectations.
"IFANCA gives me the opportunity to facilitate the development of halal markets, globally, with strict adherence to stringent processes and Islamic values", commented Mr. Mohiuddin.
Besides his new position with IFANCA, Mr. Mohiuddin volunteers much of his time at his local Mosque as a Sunday School Teacher and Community Leader.
IFANCA Responds To Recent Misinformation About Halal Certification
For the past few weeks, there have been false and sensationalized reports around halal certified foods in North America. One of our clients, Cabot Creamery Cooperative has been targeted with ugly accusations for having halal certification of their cheese products.
IFANCA would like to assure Cabot and the public in general, that we do not suggest, endorse or even condone terrorist activities. Such allegations about halal certification activity is deeply offensive and an outrageous claim.
IFANCA is a 501 (C) (3) American nonprofit organizations that operating solely for certification and free educational resources for halal consumers. IFANCA is known for its free halal educational materials to government agencies; for developing halal MRE’s for military and displaced populations; and for creating halal kitchen guidelines for hospital food service, school cafeterias and correctional institutions. IFANCA gives back to the community by supporting Sabeel Food Pantry, an organization it helped to found. Some programs include an Annual Turkey Drive to deliver turkeys to deserving students and families in Chicago. We have always considered ourselves an integral part of American society, and will always continue to act accordingly.
We welcome all respected members of the press, public and consumer groups to contact IFANCA directly if any further information is needed.
It is heartening to see that despite the recent untruthful speculation, companies like Cabot Creamery Cooperative have stood up in defense of their decision to have halal certified products. Roberta McDonald, Sr. V.P. of Marketing says "It pains Cabot deeply to see and hear negative pushback from a small, but vocal segment of the population speaking out against halal certification of our products as well as other brands. Overwhelmingly, the negative comments are based in half-truths, misinformation, and a fear of the unknown. Cabot stands by its halal certification and encourages other brands to do the same. Most recently, we've seen Campbell’s Canada become the target of such falsehoods and misunderstandings and that only makes us more determined to dispel such fears and promote unity, understanding and tolerance. Regardless of race, religion or creed, we all share a common humanity."
For more information about IFANCA, you can contact Media Relations Department: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tackling Recent Community Concerns About Halal Meat
Recent awareness of the consumption of halal products: meat, non meat processed food items, pharmaceutical/nutraceutical and cosmetic products is lately increasing among Muslims, especially the younger generation. It is really a good sign that we are conscientious of the commands of Allah and want to please Him. In the past couple of years published articles in widely distributed news papers, weekly or monthly journals have focused the demand of above mentioned halal products, Finance, Muslim acceptable boarding & lodging provisions etc. It is very obvious that there is a great potential for the companies to have their products halal certified since every industry is willing to satisfy the demand of Muslim consumers. Recent statistics gives a promising picture of global Muslim population, and a potential trillion dollar global halal industry, with an estimated American halal market to be worth about twenty billion dollars per year, just for food.
IFANCA has been in the halal certification business for almost 30 years and have so far certified more than twenty thousand (20,000) products from about 2,400 companies in over 55 countries. The process of certification involves review of ingredients and audit/inspection of production sites by highly qualified and experience food scientists along with the approval of religious scholars. In addition to the certifying products, scope of IFANCA includes supervision and certification of animal slaughtering and slaughter houses. This is executed according to an established criteria based upon Quran, Sunnah, and technical application to fulfill the demand of the industry. We know that there are various interpretations of the Quranic verses and Ahadeeth by different scholars for the meat of the people of book, and the meat on which no ones name was uttered at the time of slaughter. We always try to follow the easy way out and put the blame on the scholar. It is also true that some times, we are definitely confused by misinformed Imam or scholars, who with their limited knowledge of slaughtering techniques and current challenges of demand and supply, give fatwas and declare some meat halal and some haram.
We all should know the difference between halal and Zabiha or Dhabiha ourselves. Allah has told us very clearly that the meat from cows, goat/lamb/sheep, poultry and fish is considered halal; where as carnivorous animals, swine/pork and birds of prey are haram. Next comes the term, Zabiha or Dhabiha, which means that the halal animal has to be slaughtered by a sane Muslim saying Tasmiyyah, "Bismillah" and Takbeer, "AllahuAkbar". The meat from a halal animal can not become halal unless it was slaughtered according to the right procedure; nor a swine meat becomes halal if naudhu-billah slaughtered by a Muslim saying Bismillah and Allahu Akbar.
Recently, there has been an attempt to proclaim the meat haram, if the cow is not slaughtered according to the traditional horizontal cut, or by stunning the large animals and machine slaughtering of chickens to satisfy the high quantity demand from the industry. We should keep in mind the demand and supply function with out comprising any religious injunctions for animal being dead before slaughter and/or the blood is not properly drained. All these points need to be considered by our scholars before issuing a fatwa. Ultimately, this may result in having a negative impact on the meat industry and most of the large suppliers would shun away from being cooperative to Muslim needs.
Middle East & Southeast Asia Exporter Opportunity And Preparedness Seminar
Toronto, Ontario- On September 21, 2010, people from Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Agri-Food Trade Commission, Industry and various representatives participated in the seminar which focused on how Canadian manufacturers can take advantage of the Middle East and Southeast Asia markets. Susan Powell, President, Canadian Food Exporters Association (CFEA), hosted this event with the cooperation of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Ms. Melissa Furkalo, Senior Marketing and Trade Officer of Ontario Regional Office, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, gave opening remarks at the seminar. She highlighted the importance of the Canadian brand in international markets: People trust Canadians and the goodness of our products. They love our clean, natural environment. They see Canada and they think quality and excellence. The Canada brand embraces the attributes at the core of our reputation: Commitment; Quality; Customer focus, Nature and Trustworthiness.
The Canada brand builds on Canada's positive image in the world. It can set you apart from the competition and implies a promise customers expect you to deliver.
The Canada Brand Promise: "We are committed to earning our customers' trust in Canadian agriculture and food products every day through our relentless pursuit of excellence in all that we do." Further information can be obtained from: www.brandcanada.agr.gc.ca.
Ms. Gretchen Bozak, Agri-Food Trade Commissioner, Singapore, talked about the trends and opportunities in Southeast Asia. She also discussed various issues faced by the importers and the Canadian exporters. Mr. Richard Seguin, Agri-Food Trade Commissioner, Dubai, delivered the presentation on the trends and opportunities in Middle Eastern countries. The region's population is 300+ million with an annual growth of 3.5%. Total population is projected to reach 560M by 2050. Arabic is the official language in most countries. This region imports over $50 billion of Agri-food products annually. 80% of the food needs come from imports. He mentioned that Canada exported $3 billion worth of products to this region in 2008. He discussed the import requirements.
Mr. Haider Khattak, Director, Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA Canada), spoke about the importance of Halal certification. He explained how important is to obtain IFANCA Halal certification as IFANCA is one of the most reputable Halal certifier in the world.
Mr. Athar H. Shah, Trade & Investment Consultant, Middle East & North Africa, talked about the Ontario Food Exports. Mr. Shah was representing the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
IFANCA Mentioned in the October 1, 2010 Issue of NYU News and Documentary.
The following is an excerpt from the article, 'Possible Fraud in Self-Certified Halal':
Muslim shoppers on Steinway voiced their concern for the lack of control of halal food by the government. "I've become skeptical," said Abdelrahim Diouri, a 35 year old Moroccan-American about the halal selling shops. Mr. Diouri said that one of the reasons he buys halal from a certain shop is because he trusts the store owner since he speaks the same language and is from the same country. But he believes that there should be a document certifying that the food products and meats being sold are genuinely halal.
Although consumers must have a trust in the self-certified halal food products when there is lack of control and valid certification, outside experts such as food scientists can also add value.
"Sometimes it's not as simple as looking at the nutrition labels and knowing the ingredients are halal," said Maria Omar, Director of Media Relations at the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA). "Ingredient review as well as manufacturing plant audits is the only way to make sure that a product is halal. The food scientists at IFANCA provide these audits in order to make sure that products are legitimate under Islam."