McDonald’s settles Mich. suit over Islamic diet
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — McDonald’s Corp. and a franchise owner have reached a tentative settlement in a lawsuit alleging that food at a Detroit-area restaurant with a large Muslim customer base wasn’t prepared according to Islamic dietary laws as advertised.
McDonald’s and Finley’s Management Co. agreed Friday to pay $700,000. The money will be shared by Dearborn Heights resident Ahmed Ahmed, a Detroit health clinic, the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn and lawyers.
Ahmed’s attorney, Kassem Daklallah, told The Associated Press today that he’s “thrilled” with the preliminary deal. McDonald’s and Finley’s Management deny any liability but say the settlement is in their best interests.
The lawsuit alleged that Ahmed bought a chicken sandwich in September 2011 at a Dearborn McDonald’s but found it wasn’t halal — meaning it didn’t meet Islamic requirements for preparing food. Islam forbids consumption of pork, and God’s name must be invoked before an animal providing meat for consumption is slaughtered.
Daklallah said there are only two McDonald’s in the United States that sell halal products and both are in Dearborn, which has one of the nation’s largest Arab and Muslim communities. Overall, the Detroit area is home to about 150,000 Muslims of many different ethnicities.
The locations advertise that they exclusively sell halal Chicken McNuggets and McChicken sandwiches and they have to get those products from an approved halal provider, Dakallah said. He said there was no evidence of problems on the production side, but he alleges that the Dearborn location on Ford Road sold non-halal products when it ran out of halal.