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USA: Halal meals in Michigan prisons stir controversy

Officer Dan Tar takes meals into the jail at the Livonia Police Station in Livonia on Wednesday, June 9, 2010. / SUSAN TUSA/Detroit Free Press

Officer Dan Tar takes meals into the jail at the Livonia Police Station in Livonia on Wednesday, June 9, 2010. / SUSAN TUSA/Detroit Free Press

Some Michigan prison inmates are objecting to a settlement in a lawsuit over meals and religious customs.

The Michigan Corrections Department says it’s committed to serving halal meals to inmates who want them. But some inmates are objecting because the meals might lack meat or be too heavy on soy-based products.

A Detroit federal judge is holding a hearing today to decide whether to approve the settlement. A halal meal is prepared under strict Islamic rules.

Lawyers for prisoners who filed the lawsuit in 2006 say the case is about providing halal meals, not what’s in the meals. If inmates have a gripe about a lack of meat, they may have to take it up with the warden.

Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic Halal meals for prisons had also caused a stir as halal certified meals were found to contain traces of Pork in England and Wales. The whole fiasco has shaken consumer confidence in the halal certification system that prevails in the UK, as further cases of pork contamination were discovered in halal certified products.

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