Ask anyone who knows Yavuz Toklar well which day of his work week is the hardest, and they’ll tell you Wednesday.

That’s when he drives from his Greece home to an Ontario, Wayne County, abattoir. Several goats, lambs and beef cattle have arrived ahead of him, courtesy of a livestock broker who procures the animals at regional auctions.

Freshly showered and with his ritual prayer washing complete, he dons knee-high rubber boots and a dark cap and picks up his 8-inch knife. He recites a short prayer in Arabic. The translation:

“In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. Allah is great.”

Then quickly, carefully and with intense concentration for the task at hand, he cuts the animal’s throat.

“The day after I kill, I feel bad. I can’t do anything. It’s not easy,” says the 46-year-old Turkish-born Muslim and owner of Halal Market & Meats. “If God didn’t give me permission to do it, I wouldn’t do it.”

Halal Market & Meats, located at 311 E. Ridge Road in Rochester, is the longest established retailer of fresh, certified halal beef, goat, poultry and lamb in the area. Toklar slaughters all the meat himself, and buys the chicken from a certified halal poultry producer in South Fallsburg, Sullivan County.

By that she means the store’s meats and other food products – including its unique selection of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean groceries – are all prepared according to Islamic dietary laws (see story, Page 6C). In addition to religious code, Toklar’s meat complies with U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations, and a USDA inspector is on site to vet the animals before and after slaughter.


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