The Charleston Muslim community has a long way to go.

Columbia, S.C. (AP) – It was early Wednesday evening at 2pm, and a truck carrying meat to Halal International was delayed.

Owner Ulfat Shagwell walked the length of the market down the narrow corridor, behind the counter, in the refrigerator, in the storage room, and in the backyard. But there is still no meat.

Halal International, the shelves are full of items in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, mostly empty. Shagwal’s customers remember the usual delivery window – Wednesday, 1pm 30 to 2pm.

For many Muslims in South Carolina, the weekly fall was a good opportunity to buy fresh halal meat.


“Halal” is an expression of an act or thing permitted by Islamic law. The forbidden “haram” is the opposite. “Halal” especially when applied to meat means that the animal is prepared for consumption according to Islamic law.

An Arabic phrase praising God must be read before slaughtering the animal. There is also a special way to kill animals – cutting into the jugular vein, carotid artery and vein, helps to lose consciousness more quickly. All blood in the animal must be drained before further processing.

Although there is a basic understanding of halal meat among all Muslims, its religion is old and widespread, which makes a difference in practice and personal choice. According to Garrett Davidson, a professor of Arab and Muslim studies at Charleston College, modernity and colonialism have changed perceptions of halal meat.

Some stores, including some local markets and Costa Rica, sell frozen halal meat and machine-killed animal meat. The Muslim holy book, the Qur’an, allows meat to be eaten by Christians and Jews. Restrictions on access can affect how Muslims interpret halal.

Shagwal’s customers, on the other hand, travel from one state to another for halal meat, including in the Charleston area.

It buys from three American suppliers and all Muslim butchers have hired butchers. The meat is guaranteed to be fresh and hand-picked and sold at some of the best prices, Shagwal said.

These are just some of the goal setting shareware that you can use. Good prices and reliable, predictable meat supply.

Shagwal’s phone rang again – another customer wants an upgrade on their meat.

“Come in a few hours,” he said.

He grew up in Lowland.

During the 35 years that Dr. Gazala Jvd has lived here, the Charleston Muslim community has grown. She estimates that what started as a handful of Muslim families has now reached about 500.

Only the number is expected to increase. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, according to the Pew Research Center in 2017.

Javed, who considers herself a moderate Muslim, only cooks halal meat at home, purchased from Halal International and similar stores in Charlotte.

The local Muslim community is strong, and families are coordinating trips to Colombia or Atlanta to store meat to return home, Javed said.

“It’s very comfortable right now, but it’s not like going to the store and picking your meat,” she told me.

It was around 3pm when Charlotte disembarked and was eventually towed to Halal International.

Shagwell was standing in the open next to a large plastic container, dragging his goats and sheep, with their hooves stuck in the road.

An employee approached her, telling her that he had come to the customer’s shop, ready to pick up the order she had ordered earlier in the morning.

It was as if the switch were on – suddenly there was a line in front of the counter. As their customers waited patiently, six people filled the space behind them, screaming, chopping, and unloading the meat.

Srinivasa Koturi does not practice Islam but travels from Orenjburg to Colombia every 40 weeks to stockpile meat for his family. He said it was one of the shops selling fresh and goat meat.

Nasser Wahid, who lives 12 miles from the store, is a frequent visitor. Halal International said it was the only option with halal meat and that it had loaded several bags of carts.

Javed hopes a store like Halal International will be coming to Lowcountry soon.

She said the increase in the number of Muslims in South Carolina and the increase in the number of halal restaurants in the Charleston area could be a sign of hope.

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