DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A judge has approved a long-awaited $700,000 settlement between a Dearborn McDonalds and people who say they ate chicken sandwiches, that should have been prepared as HALAL: the Muslim equivalent of Kosher.
Ahmed Ahmed, the Dearborn Heights man who represents plaintiffs in the class-action suit, claims he bought a chicken sandwich in September 2011 at the restaurant but found it wasn’t prepared according to Islamic law.
Islam forbids consumption of pork, and God’s name must be invoked before an animal providing meat for consumption is slaughtered.
The McDonald’s restaurant chain and one of its franchise owners agreed in January to the tentative settlement that would be shared by Ahmed, as well as a Detroit health clinic, the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn and lawyers.
The two sides met Wednesday for final approval before Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen Macdonald, who has overseen the case and refereed objections by outside groups since a preliminary deal was announced in January. The settlement was originally set to be finalized March 1, but Macdonald extended the public comment period after pressure from Dearborn lawyer Majed Moughni, who criticized the class-action settlement on Facebook and was temporarily barred from communicating publicly about the case.
Ahmed’s portion of the settlement is considered an “incentive award” and represents his work on the case, his attorneys say.
“As a firm, we’ve borne the burden of litigating this case for over 19 months, and have paid a steep price in time and money to do so,” Kassem Dakhlallah, an attorney whose firm represents Ahmed and the class, told The Associated Press in an email. “We are happy that we are able to finalize this case and get the settlement funds paid to the Huda Clinic to be used for medical care for the community, and to the Arab American National Museum to be used to allow our young ones to continue their educations after high school.”