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McDonald's to Settle $700,000 US Suit Over Islamic Diet

According to reports, McDonald's and one of its franchise owners agreed to pay $700,000 to members of a Muslim community to settle allegations that a restaurant in Detroit-area falsely advertised its food as being prepared according to Islamic dietary law.

McDonald's and Finley's Management Co. agreed to the tentative settlement, according to which the money will be shared by Dearborn Heights resident Ahmed, a Detroit health clinic, the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn and lawyers.

The lawsuit alleged that Ahmed bought a chicken sandwich in September 2011 at a Dearborn McDonald's but found it wasn't halal, which means it didn't meet Islamic requirements for preparing food.

Ahmed's attorney Kassem Dakhlallah said there are only two McDonald's in the United States that sell halal products and both are in Dearborn.

He said there was no evidence of problems on the production side, but he alleges that the Dearborn location on Ford Road sold non-halal products when it ran out of halal.

Ahmed and his attorney conducted a probe and a letter was sent to McDonald's Corp. and Finley's Management by Dakhlallah's firm.

After they received no response to the letter, they filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court in November 2011 as part of a class action.

In the settlement notice, Finley's Management said it "has a carefully designed system for preparing and serving halal such that halal chicken products are labeled, stored, refrigerated, and cooked in halal-only areas."

The final hearing will ultimately determine who gets what and how much, but roughly $275,000 is expected to go to the Huda Clinic, about $150,000 to the museum, $230,000 to attorneys and $20,000 to Ahmed.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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