Baby formula is vital to an infant’s health, as it contains the nutrients necessary for proper physical and mental development. Some baby food, though, while being healthy for babies, is associated with terrorism and bigotry.
For Orthodox Jews and others, the baby formula that their children consume needs to conform to kosher dietary laws, meaning that the food excludes ingredients that would render it religiously inedible. A hechsher or kashruth symbol is placed on a number of products to let those concerned know that they are okay to eat. The most prominent hechsher found on U.S. baby food is the “U” with an “O” around it, the symbol of the group Orthodox Union.
Recently, the Muslim community has gotten into the act, creating a market for Islamic halal (permissible) food, as they too have restrictions regarding food consumption – halal being the Muslim equivalent of kosher. This, though, seems to be more about something other than religious duty, as Jewish dietary laws are more stringent than Muslim ones, rendering kosher food perfectly acceptable to Muslims and halal food entirely unnecessary.
One reason for the existence of halal deals with money. The margin of profit can be great when it comes to the food industry, especially baby food. The other reason seems to be political motivation. Placing Muslim symbols on products is a convenient way to push Islamist culture into non-Muslim American households.
The world’s largest halal food certification company is the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA), based in Park Ridge, Illinois, an affluent suburb of Chicago. IFANCA’s symbol, a crescent alongside an “M,” can be found on different baby formulas, including ones made by leading brands Similac and Gerber, their Crescent-M dwarfing the O-U kosher hechsher sitting next to it.
Those seeking kosher food – even those seeking halal food – or anyone else who uses these baby food products may be shocked to find out that IFANCA is linked to international terrorism and bigotry.
IFANCA is working with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) to create a national halal standards and accreditation body. In 2007 and 2008, ISNA, which was co-founded by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami al-Arian, was named by the United Sates Justice Department as a co-conspirator in the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. Just this past September, the Canadian government stripped ISNA of its tax status in Canada for the financing of a Pakistani terrorist group.
IFANCA is an active member of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC). Other members include: the Mosque Foundation (MF), which has held fundraisers for individuals and groups associated with PIJ and Hamas; Islamic Relief (IR), which has been associated with al-Qaeda financing and that was named by the Israeli government a front for Hamas; Helping Hand (HH), which partnered with a Pakistani charity at the same time that charity delivered close to $100,000 to the residence of the head of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal; and the Muslim American Society (MAS), which has used the internet to propagate materials degrading women, cursing Christians, and calling for the murder of Jews and homosexuals.
IFANCA’s terror and hate-related affiliations are understandable, given the individuals who are in charge of the organization.
Muhammad Munir Chaudry is a Founding Board Member and President of IFANCA. He is listed, along with a photo, on the “Speaker” page of ISNA. Sharing the page with him are fellow ISNA speakers: Esam Omeish, who resigned from the Virginia Commission on Immigration, after videos surfaced depicting him calling for violent jihad; Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a reported front for Hamas; Siraj Wahhaj, who was named a party to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; and Zulfiqar Ali Shah, the former South Asia Division Coordinator for KindHearts, a charity whose funds were frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department in February 2006 for its alleged role as a Hamas financier.
Roger Othman is the Executive Director of IFANCA. According to his bio found on the IFANCA website, Othman “has served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Mosque Foundation.” As mentioned earlier, MF has been involved in Palestinian terror-related fundraising. In July 2007, one of Othman’s fellow MF Executive Committee alumni, Muhammad Salah, was convicted of obstruction of justice for making false statements during a legal proceeding and was sentenced to 21 months in prison. According to the FBI, Salah was recruiting and training Hamas members and was raising money for Hamas.
Ahmad Hussein Sakr is a member of IFANCA’s Board of Directors and has been with IFANCA since its inception. Prior to IFANCA, he was a founding member and president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), ISNA’s main youth group and the first major Muslim Brotherhood organization inside the U.S. Sakr also served as an officer and sat on the Board of Directors of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), ISNA’s financing wing. Like ISNA, NAIT was named by the United States government as a co-conspirator to the financing of Hamas. As well, Sakr served as the first director and representative of the Muslim World League (MWL), a group that has reportedly been involved in the funding of Hamas, al-Qaeda and other terrorist outfits.
Sakr is the author of the book, ‘Pork: Possible Reasons for its Prohibition.’ In it, he describes Jews as being cursed, monkey-like, filthy and corrupt. He wrote: “It is known that some of the children of Israel regularly disobeyed Allah and as a result, were cursed. Some of them stagnated spiritually and mentally and hence became idol-worshippers; others lost their mission in life as human beings and became entertainers (if such a term is to be used) like monkeys, apes and chimpanzies [sic], and still others became filthy of mind and body, gluttonous eaters of carnivorous animals, and lived totally a corrupted life as swines [sic].”
Sakr’s book was published in 1993 by Sakr’s group, the Foundation for Islamic Knowledge, and is still in circulation as a paperback. A copy of the text is located on the website of the MSA at the University of Evansville, Indiana, in a section ironically titled, ‘Pages for Non-Muslims.’
It would make sense for Jews and others to be outraged that such an organization as IFANCA would be able to place its symbol on the packaging of major brand baby formula, let alone get paid to do so, and they are – very well! And it’s not just baby formula. The Crescent-M is found on a number of other types of products, including soups, ice cream, chicken and cheese.
Parents have a choice. They could go with a baby formula that has a terror and bigotry-associated symbol on it, as found on Similac and Gerber products, or they can go with a product that is IFANCA-free, such as Enfamil.
Companies have a choice, too. This author contacted one of them – Abbott which makes Similac and PediaSure, a kids’ nutrition supplement which also sports the Crescent-M – and was told that the company only wishes to cater to the Muslim community.
Question: Does catering to Muslims mean having to cater to extremists?
In the case of halal certification, it appears that even baby formula has become a symbol of how violence and bigotry is insinuating itself into the very essence of American family life.
Beila Rabinowitz, director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.