From April 2012

The Labels Halal & Zabihah And Why I Choose Local And Organic Instead

Organic Broiled Chicken
The Muslim community, in general, has become obsessed with the way an animal is slaughtered, despite the fact that our tradition actually speaks not just about the way an animal is slaughtered but how it is treated during its life.  Duh!  Why do we call meat “halal” when only the last step of the animal’s life is according to ‘Islamic’ (Read: ethical) principles.  That’s right, the meat labeled ‘halal’ is most likely from the same factory farm as any other meat in the grocery store– just slaughtered in a different way.  Most people don’t realize that the ‘halal’ label refers only to the way the animal has been killed.

In the era of factory farms and hormone-fed animals, the label of “halal” has been watered down and exists only as an empty brand name.  If you are a heartless person who doesn’t care about the treatment of animals, consider this of your beloved label:

“75 percent of Halal meat in America produced in the year 2000 came from pork fed cows, according to Dr. Stephen Emanuel, from Agway Feed Company.” – SoundVision

Thankfully, I’m not the only one who feels that ‘halal’ doesn’t mean much.  Check out the new stream of ‘organic and halal’ meat suppliers like GreenZabiha, founded by Yasir Syeed. (Full disclosure: I photographed his brother’s wedding)

“Muslims are directed in the Quran to eat food that is Halal and Tayyib. Halal is defined as food that is permissible according to Islamic law. Tayyib means wholesome, pure, nutritious and safe. Traditionally, Muslims in North America have emphasized the Halal over the Tayyib when it comes to meat consumption, Hussaini says.” – SoundVision

(More disclosure: That quote was from 10 years ago, but the emphasis on the method of slaughtering of the animal over the health and treatment of the animal hasn’t changed much.)

Some Muslims like to use the excuse that when someone sells you ‘halal’ food you should take it at face value, as they are the one making the claim. I don’t buy that. Read more

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On Living Below Our Means, Reducing Bills, And Buying A House

Bride Gives Water To Homeless
Today, MrsHM and I locked in our interest rate at 3.125% for a 10 year mortgage with a 20% down-payment. In late May, we will move in and begin our monthly payments. MrsHM has a full-time gig, and we’ve decided that my work will be flexible, consisting of part-time jobs. We were pre-approved for a $250,000+ mortgage.

Instead, we bought a $135,000 townhouse after looking at all sorts of properties. We saw old homes, new homes, townhomes and single-family homes. One day, our real estate agent commented, “I don’t think you guys know what you want.”

Wrong. We just wanted to see what was out there. We knew exactly what we wanted:

– To live WAY below our means
– Something we could easily rent out
– At least 3 bedrooms
– A spacious kitchen
– Outdoor space for gardening
– Little or no grass to mow (What’s the point? I’d rather plant vegetable and fruit gardens!)
– Laminate or hardwood floors
– 2 bathrooms would be best (We ended up with 1 full bath and two half baths)
Read more

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