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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2001

Governor Ryan Signs "Halal Food Act"

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor Ryan today signed Senate Bill 750 creating the "Halal Food Act," providing for inspections by the Department of Agriculture to ensure that all food labeled Halal is prepared according to Islamic law.

"Muslims are valued members of our communities and this official recognition by the state reflects Illinois' commitment to supporting the interests of all citizens," Governor Ryan said. "This law will give Muslims in Illinois confidence that the Halal food products they buy are indeed prepared according to Islamic law."

Effective January 1, 2002, violating the Halal Food Act will be a Class B misdemeanor. Penalties will be enforced for any person making deceptive statements or falsely representing that a non-Halal food product is Halal. In Arabic, Halal means lawful and refers to specific guidelines for the preparation of food, especially in regards to meat.

"This law protects our Muslim communities from fraud and provides recognition to the emerging presence of Muslim culture and traditions in Illinois," said Senator Christine Radogno (R-La Grange).

"Muslims feel proud about the unanimous bipartisan support of the Halal Food Act, and see it as an historical manifestation of the public and political recognition of the Muslim community in Illinois, which numbers around 450,000," said Dr. Sabri Samirah, president of United Muslim Americans Association.

Senate Bill 750 was sponsored in by Senators Christine Radogno, R-La Grange, Laurence Walsh, D-Elwood, Barack Obama, D-Chicago, Louis Viverito, D-Burbank, and Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago and Representatives Tom Dart, D-Chicago, Eileen Lyons, R-Western Springs, Gwenn Klinger, R-Springfield, and Anne Zickus, R-Palos Hills.


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