A Message to Entrepreneurs (And a $10k Prize)

At the American Muslim Consumer Consortium (AMCC), we firmly believe that the global Muslim market is under served, yet possesses a great deal of upward potential for entrepreneurs to innovate, create, and avail upon. Through our work, AMCC has found that creativity and ingenuity in producing unique items to fulfill the Muslim market needs result in wide buy-in and success. We also recognize that real entrepreneurs are a unique breed of humans, with an imbued talent of identifying and risking extraordinary lengths to fulfill market needs.

As a result, 2010 saw our introduction of the Entrepreneur Showcase for the first time at the American Muslim Consumer Conference. Since then, we have identified successful entrepreneurs who have produced viable products and services benefiting the Muslim consumer for the last three years. For each of those fourteen unique ventures, we have provided the opportunity to showcase their business to a panel of experts for guidance on how to further improve, in order to maintain their long term sustainability.

In an effort to live up to this year’s theme, “Muslim Market – Global Perspectives: Entrepreneurs Driving Change,” AMCC is looking for entrepreneurs who believe their products or services have the potential of being truly global game changers, entrepreneurs whose work comes from socially responsible ideas that benefit the world of consumers yet comply with Islamic values.

Over the last three years, the hours our team has spent interviewing and reviewing hundreds of ideas and business models has taught us that creating a viable business is easier said than done. As a result, this year, we will be awarding the winner of the Entrepreneur Showcase with $10,000. This prize is being made possible by Barkaat Capital, a company founded by one of our past showcase contestants.

Apply Now for the Entrepreneur Showcase

(Deadline is September 15, 2014)

Applicants will go through a stringent review process, and those selected for the showcase will be coached on their conference presentation. The conference will be taking place this year on November 15, 2014, at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Newark Airport, New Jersey. Please visit the conference page for further details.

Quran Academy is building the world’s first smart Qur’an memorization app

The following is a guest post by Bilal Memon, Founder of Quran Academy. Edited by Laila Alawa.

I was 10 years old when I started my journey to memorize the Muslim Holy Book, the Qur’an. I transitioned between 2 schools, Darul Huda in Piscataway, NJ and Darul Ehsan in Suffern, NY, where I finished my memorization. I am very thankful to both schools and especially my teacher, for helping me become a Hafidh. I couldn’t be more grateful for him in my life.

After attending the school, I quickly realized that not too many people memorize Qur’an. Not only was I a minority, I was endowed with a great deal of responsibility to lead the Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan. Initially, the revelation overwhelmed me. Indeed, the task scared me when I first led the prayer, but pushing through, I made it to the other side. Later on, in my reflections on the fear I had towards leading the prayer, I realized it was a fear of making mistakes, which would then cause me to appear as though I was lacking knowledge of the Quran. I progressed through the years, either leading the Taraweeh prayer or correcting the prayer leader on his mistakes. Soon enough, after reviewing the Qur’an for over a decade, and talking to hundreds of Qur’an memorizers, I realized that everybody faces the same issue of making mistakes when they revise the Qur’an, oftentimes repeating the same mistake time and again. A personal struggle, every Qur’an memorizer will testify that Qur’an memorization is not nearly as difficult as retaining what has been memorized. Without constant review of what has been memorized, it will all be forgotten.

One of the critical reasons why people constantly make mistakes is that they don’t have much actionable data on their mistakes. Currently, people track their mistakes in the Qur’an with a pencil and nobody has concrete proof on whether a mistake was a new one or a repeat one.

This is why Qur’an Academy was born. It’s a humble effort to provide smarter data to help folks become more effective with their memorization and revision of the holy book. In an era where “Big Data” is talked about so much, Qur’an Academy has decided to use data and data mining to revolutionize Qur’an memorization.

At Qur’an Academy, we adapt the presentation of learning materials based on any prospective memorizer/reviser’s individual learning needs and habits as indicated by their preferences: usage of a particular version of the Quran, their geo-location, their native tongue, and how they interact with our app. We collect the user’s data and use it to examine their behavioral and linguistic patterns and customize content and presentation to help that individual user memorize the Qur’an most efficiently and effectively.

The user simply kicks off the app by choosing the Qur’an they are most comfortable using for practice and memorization. We offer both Medina Mushaf and the Urdu Mushaf in 13, 15, and 16 line variations. So the user starts with several taps and we will guide them throughout the rest of their journey.

The founders wanted to make Quran Memorization not only accessible to everyone, but appealing to those who may have otherwise found it daunting. Because of Quran Academy, Quran memorization and revision is now mobile, personalized, and accessible to anyone. The app is designed to learn from the user’s interactions with in-app features to make personalized lessons, quizzes, and a host of other recommendations fitted perfectly to that user’s individual learning needs. Whether a user is actively trying to memorize the Quran on a deadline or is simply an enthusiast; whether their native tongue is Arabic, Urdu, English, or Farsi; whether they like to practice at dawn or dusk; and whether they are under ever-changing circumstances; Qur’an Academy delivers the kind of lesson you need when you need it; whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever language you speak.

We envision a world where our technology is at the forefront of helping every Muslim become a more effective Qur’an Memorizer & Reviser! Please help Qur’an Academy become a reality by supporting our crowd-funding campaign at

Our Journey to Macy’s

Back in April, I received an unexpected phone call from a Macy’s employee. They were looking to purchase decor for the Macy’s South Coast Plaza store in Costa Mesa, CA. Referred by a loyal modernEID customer, the Macy’s employee explained that after reviewing suggestions from key employees, her manager had approved the possibility of decorating the store for Ramadan.

I was floored! How wonderful, that Macy’s would honor their employees with such a gesture. I let the employee know that we could of course accommodate her request. However, I recognized that decorating a retail environment would involve specific guidelines. She passed on my information to her manager, who would get in touch with me shortly. I awaited the call with anticipation.

Imagine my surprise when I was contacted the next day by the Southwest Regional Director of Wedding Gift Registry. Not only did Gary hold a distinguished position in the company, but he was one of the nicest, most respectful people I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to! I quickly learned from him that Orange County receives a large influx of tourists from the Gulf region during the summer months. Since South Coast Plaza remains the premier shopping destination in California, these guests flock there for their shopping needs. Macy’s was well aware of this phenomenon, recognized the importance of the customer group, and was looking to make them feel welcome. We scheduled a meeting to discuss the store’s needs, and how we could help.

As an Orange Country girl, I hold South Coast Plaza near and dear to my heart. To say I was excited to be going to the Macy’s offices would be an understatement. Jumping up and down in jubilation like a schoolgirl would be a more accurate description!

During our meeting, I learned a great deal about the retail world. We spent time looking at modernEID products and brainstorming ideas for how to celebrate Ramadan in-store. I took the opportunity to give them a quick introduction to Ramadan and Eid. I also let them know that while the Middle Eastern and Muslim tourist demographic was important, there was also a large American Muslim demographic in Los Angeles and Orange County that would also flock to Macy’s, if given such a gesture. At the end of our meeting, it was decided that they needed to discuss the scale of the project, and get back to us.

As I waited a few weeks to hear from them, I was more than a little anxious. Frankly, I was a nervous wreck! The possibility of a major retailer finally recognizing Ramadan or Eid with decor was so close, and yet seemed so far. More than that, such a gesture was unprecedented, and I knew that this would be the first step to seeing retailers take note of the Muslim American demographic. This goal is among the reasons why modernEID began, plain and simple.

After what seemed to be an eternity, I was called in for a follow up meeting to show some designs and meet with Visual Merchandising. I presented a new modernEID design that I felt would work best for Macy’s. They liked it and showed me the tower displays for the signage. Four displays to be divided among the three stores: Women’s, Men’s, and Home.

It was happening. It was really happening. Nowadays, I found myself sitting at my computer, designing a display for Macy’s, The wonder and opportunity is not lost on me, this is a dream come true and a mission realized. As exciting as this was, it didn’t stop there.

Later, I was asked to come in for another meeting, in order to finalize details and discuss the possibility of Macy’s hosting a “Welcome Ramadan” party. I shared with them the dates of Ramadan and my thoughts on what would be optimal for a good turnout. I also met the representative working for Macy’s who was the catalyst behind this whole project. Rima, a lovely Christian Lebanese woman, recognized that many of her customers were Middle Eastern Muslims, and believed strongly that something should be done for Ramadan.

It was set that Macy’s South Coast Plaza would host a “Welcome Ramadan” event in store on June 25th from 2-6pm. modernEID-designed display towers would be erected prior to the event, and up the entire month of Ramadan. Even more, I told the store manager about the small Pop-Up Show that modernEID was hosting with other small business vendors on June 22nd. With enthusiasm and support, he asked if Macy’s could be represented at our Pop-Up to meet our customers and invite them to the “Welcome Ramadan” party.

What started simply as an idea to purchase some modern Ramadan decor evolved into a partnership with a company that I have so much respect for. Everyone at Macy’s South Coast Plaza that I met on this journey, has been so supportive, kind, and excited about the project. Although everyone recognizes that this is good marketing to an important customer base, they haven’t lost sight of the significance. While spearheading this project, the store realized they wanted their Muslim employees to know that Macy’s cares about them. I was told that when one employee heard about the project, she was so moved she began to tear up.

Macy’s is a company that cares about its customers, employees, and community, with such sincerity. They have my utmost respect and dedication as a customer for life. I hope everyone who is moved by this story, shows them the same support they have shown us. This journey is truly a dream realized, and I am grateful to have met so many amazing people who helped this dream come true.

Jomana was selected to present her company, modernEID, on the Entrepreneurship Showcase panel at AMCC 2011. Do you have a company that’s benefiting the American Muslim consumer, either directly or as a byproduct? Apply now for a chance to present your company on this year’s Entrepreneurship Showcase panel at AMCC 2014. Application deadline is August 30, 2014.

American Muslim Filmmaker Michael Wolfe on his new film, Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story

The following interview is posted with permission from the UPF team.

How did you first find out about Noor Inayat Khan and what drew you to her story?

My colleagues Alex Kronemer, Jawaad Abdul Rahman, and I were looking at several stories about Muslim heroes during World War II.  I came across a reference to Noor Inayat Khan, and we all looked into her story.  We were overwhelmed.  There were many Muslims who fought against the Nazis, not only other Indians, but Arabs and Balkan Muslims, too. Her story is not unique in that respect.  But whereas many of these other people were men, often fighting alongside other men of arms, she was a woman, alone through most of her ordeal, with only her courage and, very importantly, her faith to carry her though. It’s that which made her story most remarkable to us.

Besides being a woman at a time when female intelligence officers were few and far between, how else is her story unique and important?

She appeared to be such an unlikely heroine. She was physically slight, very artistic, and aesthetic. She was not an aggressive person. You would not have expected her to have fought back against her captors as ferociously as she did, or to escape twice from Dachau concentration camp. She never gave up one name or even her own name. She was completely, 100 percent opposed to the Axis forces and what Nazi Germany stood for and very dedicated to the task. Everyone who met her felt she was extraordinary.

Despite the fact that many Muslims played brave roles and sacrificed during World War II, the prevailing narrative of that conflict usually doesn’t include any mention.  A person could watch thousands of hours of documentaries and movies and never know that there were any Muslims involved in the story. But there were, and this is one of the stories.

What role does Noor Inayat Khan’s faith play in her heroism?

While experiencing a great deal of racism and religious intolerance herself, Noor’s father, Inayat Khan, preached an inclusive message that welcomed all races and all faiths to his Sufi Center in Paris.  It was this teaching of inclusiveness that made the Nazis so repulsive to her and caused her to risk her life and ultimately die resisting them and everything they stood for. She was very loyal to this work that she did. She died for it and she never betrayed one person who worked with her.  Her choices in life are so often correct choices – difficult, correct choices that she is a mentor for us, particularly for young Muslims. She was not rigid, she had a wide and penetrating point of view on the world and she was very committed to her ideals.

Why was it easy to gather information about Noor Inayat Khan when her work was meant to remain secret?

Her story had good documentation. There was a real record, written and verifiable almost day by day.  The problem with many WWII resistance stories is that people didn’t want to write anything down since they were trying not to leave a trail. This story was an exception because Noor Inayat Khan was member of the Secret Operations Executive, which made a point of recording everything. Since its members reported directly to Winston Churchill, they kept an accurate record of everything.

Who is the primary audience of the film and why?

While we don’t produce films for a specific demographic, we find that they are most popular with three major audiences: mainstream Americans, high school and college classrooms, as well as community centers and houses of worship.  The Muslim community uses our films in mosques in educational settings. We especially hope young Muslims will benefit from sharing stories like Noor Inayat Khan’s that bring to light Muslim heroes in all walks of life. It’s something that is often missing for Muslim youth in schools, books, and other media. There are many films about American heroes but not many good films about heroic people who happen to be Muslim.

How can Noor Inayat Khan’s story relate to the situation and struggles of American Muslims today?

It is a story of fortitude and courage.  The irony of her story is that while she fought the racism of the Nazis, in her youth she was subjected to racism in France, and before her, her Indian father was forced to flee America because of racism.  Despite this, she always drew from her faith and values to do the right thing.  She is an inspiration.

The New Jersey premiere is Sunday, May 4th at 3pm at the historic State Theater located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick, NJ.  Tickets on sale now

AMCC to Host “UNVEILED” Highlighting the Experiences of American Muslim Women in a Post 9/11 World

The American Muslim Consumer Consortium (AMCC) will host UNVEILED, a critically acclaimed play written and performed by Rohina Malik, a Chicago-based playwright, actress and solo performance artist. The play will be held at the Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton University, New Jersey, on Sunday, September 29th, 2013. 

Princeton, NJ — September 11, 2013

“UNVEILED” tells the stories of five Muslim women living in America in a post 9/11 world. Each woman’s compelling narrative offers a captivating perspective on what many Muslims and non Muslims had to deal with as individuals and as members of their communities. All the women are cleverly portrayed by Rohina herself, who is able to create vastly different contexts and realities for each one of them, all the while building a high level of depth to each character, drawing the audience into their world.

On July 4, 2013, The Washington Post published its review stating, “In Unveiled, Malik’s objective is not just narrow, internally focused self-protection of her own Muslim community. Instead she stresses that threats to the civil liberties of some threaten civil liberties themselves. The character Inez emphasizes, ‘And don’t you think this is just a Muslim problem, or an Arab problem. This is every American’s problem. We are all Americans, and we have to protect each other. Every American needs to realize: Today it is my rights, tomorrow, it could be yours.’”

Chris Jones from the Chicago Tribune says, “Rohina Malik, the hugely talented writer-actress at the center of the Victory Gardens solo show ‘Unveiled,’ is a remarkable new theatrical voice in Chicago. In her rich, upbeat and very enjoyable 70-minute collection of five character studies of Muslim women in modern-day America, Malik gives voice to characters from whom we hear far too little in the theater.”

Rohina Malik is currently based in Chicago as a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, an artistic associate at the 16th Street Theater, and she was one of the four writers in the inaugural group of The Goodman Theater’s Playwrights Unit.

“UNVEILED” will be shown at the Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton University, 68 Nassau St, Princeton, New Jersey 08542 on September 29th, 2013. The show will start at 2:00 PM and will run until 5:00 PM, which includes a Q&A session with Rohina after the play. General admission tickets are $25.00 per person, with a group pass for four tickets available for $80.00. All Princeton University ID holders will have complementary tickets, which are available at the Richardson Auditorium box office.

To receive more information on UNVEILED, please visit

Moving Forward: American Muslim Consumer Consortium

American Muslim Consumer Conference (AMCC) is no longer a one day conference event, it is transforming into a consortium of American Muslim Consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs.

The objective of American Muslim Consumer Consortium is to develop the American Muslim Consumer Market by addressing the needs of American Muslim Consumers and promote businesses who are developing products for this market.

Key initiatives to be launched by the Consortium:

  • Fund research, white paper, case studies, surveys related to the American Muslim Consumer market
  • Reach out to mainstream companies and share studies and research which highlights the opportunities which exist in this market
  • Establish network of entrepreneurs and investors who are willing to share their success and experience
  • Ensure that Muslim owned businesses are committed to social responsibility and contributing their share of resources and funding towards community development projects
  • Develop a playbook to counter incidents like the advertising pull of Lowes from an American Muslim sitcom. As opposed to the reactive responses that don’t fully address the issue, what are some proactive measures that serve to engage in a meaningful and innovative manner?
  • Share, collaborate with likeminded organizations whose objectives are to promote entrepreneurship by launching entrepreneurship development program
  • Replicate the success of entrepreneurship showcase in many cities of America, help connect entrepreneurs with investors
  • Leverage existing social media channels to aggregate and distribute Muslim consumer related news, white paper, research and case studies.

Join the American Muslim Consumer Consortium — as a consumer you will help shape this market; as a business you will have access to all the market data, white paper, case studies which can help you market your products; as a would-be entrepreneur you can connect with successful entrepreneurs and investors.

For more information, please email us at

Faisal Masood
Founder, American Muslim Consumer Consortium (AMCC)

AMCC to Award Saffron Road with CSR and Crescent Halal Food CEO with Entrepreneurship Awards

AMCC will present its third Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to Saffron Road and its first entrepreneurship award to Ahmad Adam, CEO of Crescent Halal Food at the upcoming 4th American Muslim Consumer Conference. The conference will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Newark Airport, New Jersey on Saturday, November 17th, 2012.

Newark, NJ (PRWEB) November 08, 2012

The American Muslim Consumer Conference (AMCC) has played an integral role since its start in 2008 to raise public awareness for the American Muslim market. There are close to seven million Muslims living in the America and they make up an estimated 170 billion dollar market that is largely untapped.

AMCC will give this year’s Multicultural Award, which promotes diversity in America, to Saffron Road. The Saffron Road brand is making a major impact in addressing unmet consumer needs in the multicultural market by bringing food from different ethnic backgrounds to major retail outlets such as Whole Foods. Their focus has been to reach out to customers beyond the Muslim / halal food market and address the needs of any consumer looking for healthy, organic, antibiotic free and humane alternatives. They also have a wide selection of gluten free products. Their Ramadan campaign in 2011 was very successful and neutralized the media backlash related to Muslims and Islam in America into a positive spin focusing on diversity and tolerance. This marketing strategy can be used as a case study for many companies facing similar issues and challenges to make their products and services more mainstream in America.

This year, to recognize entrepreneurs whose contributions are making a major impact in addressing the American Muslims, AMCC will be will be launching a new award called the “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award. This award will be given to Ahmad Adam, CEO of Crescent Halal Food to highlight the leadership he has provided in the halal food industry and implementing Islamic principles in financial, social and ethical areas involving Crescent Halal Food. From its Chicago based facility, Crescent is supplying halal food to major food chains which include over 70 Walmart locations, which has established its position as a leading supplier of halal food in America.

This year’s conference key note speaker will be TED speaker Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa. Dr. Al-Mutawa is the Founder and CEO of Teshkeel Media Group and created THE 99, the first group of comic superheroes with an Islamic background. President Obama praised this as the most innovative initiative viewed by his Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship and Forbes identified THE 99 one of the top 20 trends around on the globe.

About the American Muslim Consumer Conference

The American Muslim Consumer Conference is the only platform for industry professionals to explore the rich potential of the American Muslim market. This year’s conference is themed “The New Face of Muslim Consumers: Socially Conscious, Innovative and Engaged“ and will be held on November 17th, 2012 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Newark Airport, NJ. Last year’s conference was titled “Multiculturalism & the American Muslim Consumer Market” and drew a crowd of over 350 participants.

Meet the Companies Selected for the 2012 Entrepreneur Showcase

We are very excited about this year’s Entrepreneur Showcase session at the 4th Annual American Muslim Consumer Conference!

Since 2010, the AMCC team has identified successful entrepreneurs who have realized key opportunities and produced viable products and services that are directly or indirectly benefiting the Muslim consumer. We have provided many of them with the opportunity to showcase their business model to a panel of experts for guidance to further improve and sustain their businesses. Check out the videos from last year’s Entrepreneur Showcase on our YouTube channel.

This year we received a large number of applications for the showcase across various industries. Many of these businesses have made considerable progress in understanding the needs of the Muslim consumer. However, there is still a long way to go and numerous opportunities yet to be capitalized. After going through a rigorous application review and screening process we selected the following candidates for this year’s showcase.


“Taaza2u was built with a simple idea – to offer our discerning customer the best quality Zabiha Halal product; delivered conveniently to their doorstep. We have paid special attention to the cuts and packaging so that our customers can go directly from the box to cooking. No need to trim, cut or clean anymore. Our Ready to Cook and Ready to Grill items represent a completely new level of convenience. Taaza2u is especially proud of our Customer Service inspired by and Nordstrom standards.”

Noor Kids

“Noor Kids makes Islamic education fun and exciting! Our goal is to build confidence in the religious identity of little Muslims through Islamic Education, Muslim Culture, and American Integration. We utilize four characters – Amin, Shireen, Asad, and Amira – to engage little Muslims and achieve our goal. Currently, we produce a quarterly mail-order children’s book series targeted at 4-8 year olds and have sold our books in six countries. Since launching in July 2011, Noor Kids has received support from thousands of fans and received funding from the Harvard Business School. The books have been covered by the Boston Herald, Illume Magazine, American Muslim Mom, and countless independent blogs. We plan to leverage our current success as we expand into digital products, videos, and soft-lines (toys, clothes, etc.), in the forthcoming years.”


“Hygienna Inc. is a Canadian personal hygiene company focused on design innovation and function. Launched in 2011, their flagship product, the Hygienna Solo is one of the world’s lightest and portable bidets. By simply attaching the Hygienna Solo to a water bottle it provides a convenient and time-saving alternative to the exclusive use of toilet paper, cumbersome or expensive bidets, a watering canteen or showering after using the washroom.”

Noriba Investing

“Noriba Investing is a new US based online brokerage that wants to take the Muslim investor to the next level of halal investing. Noriba Investing allows investors to build a fully halal investment portfolio through its advisory and asset management services. Noriba Investing’s trading platform also allows the more active and self-directed Investor to instantly screen publicly traded companies or funds for halal compliance and make trades. Noriba Investing allows Muslims to invest in the markets without compromising their values.”

Strategic Realty Solutions

“Strategic Realty is the areas’ premiere real estate solutions company, and since our inception we have been helping homeowners along with improving communities in each and every city we work in. Our mission is to rejuvenate neighborhoods and increase the standard of living by improving the overall quality of housing for the residents. With the ability to directly purchase homes and make cash offers, we can create an extremely fast, and hassle-free transaction. We provide a halal investment opportunity through a fully Shariah-compliant financial model thereby giving Muslim investors, domestic and overseas, an attractive alternative to investing their hard-earned money for returns that exceed most industries’ standards and allows them to be compliant with their faith. Using our years of knowledge and experience within the real estate investing industry and by employing the power of the franchise model, we look forward to rolling out our educational arm, Real Estate Wealth Academy, in mid-2013 on a national basis. As our investing and educational arms continue to grow over the upcoming months and years, we will serve as a catalyst for job growth on both the local and national level.”

Shaping the American Muslim Marketplace

Halal Chicken from Crescent Foods is now available at over 70 Walmart stores, Frozen Halal meals from Saffron Road are available at Whole Foods stores across America, Supermarket chains Pathmark and retail giants Best Buy wish us “Eid Mubarak” and “Ramadan Mubarak” in their marketing brochures. One of the world’s biggest advertising agencies, Ogilvy & Mather launched Ogilvy Noor offering Islamic Branding services. All these developments have happened over the last 4 years.

When we started to float the concept of the American Muslim Consumer Conference (AMCC) back in 2008 amongst Muslim communities, we would get a blank stare. It was a challenge for us to explain that American Muslims had a buying power which had grown to almost $170B and that it was now time for us to establish a platform which can create more awareness in the media and mainstream companies. We also felt that we could help to support smaller businesses trying to engage with the needs of the Muslims.

We started to craft a vision for AMCC and, after few round of discussions and consultations, the AMCC vision was established: Understand and address the needs of American Muslim Consumers and promote businesses and entrepreneurs who are developing products and services for this market.
Since its launch in October 2008, there is so much we have learned about this market and now have so much to share. As a common American Muslim Consumer, we would have missed out and never have had the opportunity to establish that connection.

This connection is between many entrepreneurs and many organizations that have been working to address the unique needs of American Muslims. Organizations like the Muslim Consumer Group that does extensive research to provide information whether ingredients used in food products available in supermarkets are Halal or not. Organizations like Halal Advocates of America, Islamic Services of America, Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, Pure Halal Center who all provide Halal certification services.

Companies like Crescent Foods, Midamar, Saffron Road, and Al Safa are pioneers in manufacturing Halal Food and are working with both neighborhood stores and supermarkets to make their products available nationwide. Although their products are not yet available in all supermarkets, in the last three to four much progress has been made. Walking through the aisles of many supermarket chains, the word Halal is no longer a strange sight.

Young entrepreneurial companies have also emerged like Noor Kids who are developing products for children which make Islamic education fun and exciting, Noor Vitamins with Halal vitamins, JaanJ which designs non-silk Halal vegan ties, Amara Cosmetics who have developed an entire range of Halal cosmetic products, and LittleBigKids which offers a wide range of culturally and religiously inspired products for kids. Each year, the list of products and companies just keeps growing.

Islamic Finance companies like Amana Mutual Funds, University Islamic Financial, Iman Fund, Guidance Residential and Ijara Loans are offering many Sharia-compliant financial products. And while Muslims in America have not yet embarked completely on the concept of Islamic Finance, as they do not see much difference between conventional banking and Islamic Finance companies, significant progress is being made year by year.

Today there is a fast growing and diverse set of media and forums that enable access to the American Muslim market. From fast growing online networks such as,, to publications such as Azizah magazine(for American Muslim women) and various regional newspapers. A variety of media are fast maturing with captive audiences that reflect the full fabric of American Muslim society and are becoming popular in bringing issues of American Muslims in the forefront.

Journalists like Carla Power from Time Magazine and Paul Barrett from BusinessWeek have written extensively about the upcoming American Muslim Market; big advertising giant, Ogilvy & Mather has an entire division advocating the Muslim Market and they have all been active participants in the past AMCC conferences.

All these developments are good for the growing Muslim Community. This platform still needs to be developed further to enable more interaction and exchange between entrepreneurs and businesses developing products and services for this market catering to American Muslims.

Over the years, AMCC has created a valuable arena for the relaxed exchange of ideas and activities between the Muslim and non-Muslim business communities with diverse cultural backgrounds. Common ground and shared interests have emerged in an atmosphere of understanding and tolerance, and this all helps to confirm the value – economic, social and spiritual – of the Muslim community in the USA.

There can be little doubt that over the coming years, American Muslims will make increasingly significant contributions through their entrepreneurial and commercial activities. A new generation with fresh ideas about business, media, trade and finance will bring a new vision, nurtured by their faith, and forged by the needs and realities of life in America. We plan to be a part of that.

The 4th annual American Muslim Consumer Conference will be held on Saturday, November 17th at DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton at Newark Airport, Newark, New Jersey, USA. This year’s conference theme is “The New Face of Muslim Consumers”, which will analyze and discuss the market as a group of socially conscious, innovative, and engaged consumers.

Understanding the commercial habits of Muslims

Looking ahead into the future is of paramount importance for any organization that wants to stay on the top in their field of business. Today’s forecasts, business research are tomorrow’s profits. While all business school teaches this the message seems to have been lost in the majority of business. The organizations that do pay attention to the trend, and try to plan for the future come out as successful.

Islam guides about 2 billion people around the world and in United States there are growing numbers of people who are following the teachings of Islam. Understanding Islam and its followers will be a critical piece of strategy that no organization can ignore. This is my attempt at making it a bit more clear for people and organizations that want to grow or do business for/with Muslim community in the United States.

How different are Muslims? What can you do to make Muslims feel more welcomed and satisfied in doing business with you? These are the questions I will try and answer with my blogs.

Muslims are follower of the Islam; they believe that; “there is only one God and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is his messanger”. Muslims are guide in their daily life by the set of laws listed in the Holy Quran. This blog is too small to cover all of these laws. At a very high level; you could say that Allah has listed as law the commonsense and best practice of any society, along with a wealth of information from astrology, medicine, Biology, physiology and much much more.

To understand the commercial habits of Muslims you have to understand that Muslims have prohibition to do certain things. The things that are prohibited are referred as “haraam”. For example, some foods ingredients that are considered haraam are:

Meat from swine: Any product that has directly or indirectly been extracted from pig/swine is forbidden.
Alcohol: Intoxicating beverages or items are forbidden from consumption.
BONE PHOSPHATE – E542: An anti-caking agent made from the degreased steam-extract from animal bones.
COCHINEAL/CARMINE – E120, E122: A red dyestuff consisting of dried bodies of female cochineal insects. Note: E124 Ponceau 4R is acceptable although it is sometimes known as Cochineal Red A.
GELATINE: Gelatine is an odorless, tasteless, protein substance like glue or jelly, obtained by boiling the bones, hoofs, and other waste parts of animals. Vegetarian alternatives such as Agar Agar and Gelozone exist.
GLYCERINE – E422: May be produced from animal fats, synthesized from propylene or from fermentation of sugars.
L-CYSTEINE: A flavor and improving agent manufactured from animal hair and chicken feathers.
MAGNESIUM STEARATE: May be made from animal fat. Often found in medicines.
RENNET (ANIMAL): An enzyme taken from the stomach of a newly killed calf used in the cheese making process. Vegetarian cheese is produced using microbial or fungal enzymes, or chymosin.
VANILLA EXTRACT: Vanilla is a plant product. It is extracted with alcohol as the solvent of choice, from the vanilla bean and is normally kept in a solution containing alcohol. If you examine at a bottle of vanilla extract, you will find it lists alcohol as an ingredient, along with the percentage of alcohol.
WHEY: During cheese making, a coagulum is formed by clotting milk with rennet. When the coagulum is cut, a watery liquid known as whey is released and drained off leaving the curd to be salted and further processed into cheese. Whey contains water, fat, protein, lactose, minerals and lactic acid. Cream, butter, cheese, drinks, syrups and powder are some of the products made from whey.
SHELLAC E904: a resin from the lac insect
EMULSIFIERS (E470 to E483): haraam if obtained from pork or non-halal sources.

There are some sections of Muslims who may have more food products (some seafood) that they would want to add to this list but I will not cover them in this post.

In my next post, I will cover Halal Finance and give some examples of how commercial transactions are conducted under Islamic guidelines.