In Arabic, halal means literally that which is permitted, authorized, or prescribed, as opposed to haram, which refers to that which is forbidden and not permitted. In contemporary Muslim societies, halal and haram primarily refer to dietary restrictions that Muslims are expected to follow. Muslims are not permitted to eat the meat of an animal that has not been ritually slaughtered according to certain rules and rituals. Halal dietary restrictions are similar to the Jewish practice of observing kosher rules regarding food and have a similar range of strictness regarding its observance. In the pluralistic societies of a globalized world, maintaining halal practices can be arduous, but it also provides a distinct marker between observant and nonob-servant Muslims.

When North African immigrants first began to emigrate ...

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