Islamic Leadership Council Halal Certification Process & Application
Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York, in collaboration with various grassroots leaders and organizations, is the first halal certifying body in New York to certify public schools! Since the successful pilot program in six NYC public schools, we have since expanded our certification to 43 schools in total. In partnership with the New York City Department of Education, we are currently working to expand the certification process to include as many schools as possible in a city with over 1,800 schools. Our certification process is seeking to expand beyond the five boroughs to also include Nassau and Suffolk County in Long Island.
What do we mean by ‘Halal’?
Technically, New York public schools already serve ‘halal’ meals, such as the standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich. However, we believe that every child should have options to fulfill their nutritional needs without concerns of violating religious dietary restrictions or feeling left out from enjoying foods, like chicken nuggets, with their fellow peers.
While different religious opinions exist over the nature of “halal” meat, the Islamic Leadership Council has decided to adopt the strictest litmus test for halal meat as Zabiha (hand-slaughtered) by Muslims who utter the name of God before sacrificing the animal in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This way, no child has to feel left behind when it comes to enjoying lunch with their school companions.
Watch our Resident Scholar, Shaykh Ibad-Wali explain the entire certification process!
What does the certification process entail?
The certification process requires schools that are interested in bringing halal options to their lunch menu. This can be through school officials or through Parent-Teacher Associations. Once these schools apply through our application process, a designated Imam on our certification board will schedule a zoom meeting to go over the process.
The process is fairly simple. A designated Imam will schedule an appointment with the cafeteria staff to go through a training process that explains what Halal is, in addition to the proper procedures for storing, preparing and serving Halal food. Staff will then be provided an assessment which will test their knowledge on Halal protocols (i.e. not mixing halal items with non-halal meats). Our Imams will then perform an inspection of the kitchen facilities to determine whether the cafeteria is fit to prepare and serve Halal food options. Once these critical control points pass, these schools will receive their Halal Certificate from Majlis Ash-Shura of New York, valid for one year. Schools can then serve halal meals with meat supplied from approved Muslim vendors.
How can you help?
A project of this magnitude requires a full-time staff of its own. The longevity of this project may be time consuming, however, it is an institutional change that future generations will reap the benefits of. 100% of the administrative costs for this project fall on our shoulders, which includes salaries, developing . Majlis Ash-Shura’s 5-year goal is to certify at least another 100-300 public schools. Our long term goal is to certify all 1,866 public schools, and expand halal food options into the private sector as well, such as charter schools.
In order to fulfill this goal we need our community’s support. Bringing Halal options into our schools and institutions are about much more than just eating Zabiha meat. It is about building an empowered, accepted, and equal community for our children who can comfortably be Muslim without sacrificing religious principles.
To support our Halal initiatives, you can donate to support our expansion work.