U.S. Companies Reach Out to Muslims

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American companies are increasingly reaching out to Muslim consumers who are seen as an untapped market for U.S. businesses.

The Walmart in Dearborn, Michigan, carries halal products, which meet Islamic dietary standards. McDonald's and Walmart offer the products and Whole Foods began selling its first nationally distributed halal foods in August.

Participants at the second annual American Muslim Consumer Conference held near New York City learned more about promoting foods that Islamic dietary laws to the growing U.S. Muslim population.

The worldwide market for goods meeting Islamic standards has grown to more than half a billion dollars annually, according to an Associated Press report.

Foods that omit alcohol, pork products and other forbidden ingredients, along with cosmetics, finance and clothing, are increasingly finding their place in world markets.

In Europe, corporations have been creating Muslim-friendly products for the past several years. Nestles has about 20 factories in Europe with halal-certified products and solicits business through a marketing campaign called "Taste of Home."

In a national advertising campaign in 2009, Best Buy began acknowledging the Muslim holiday of "Eid al-Adha," the Festival of Sacrifice, which teaches that God told Abraham to sacrifice Ishmael, the son of Sarah's Egyptian handmaid, Hagar, not Isaac, whom the Bible calls "the son of promise."

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