Local Muslim families who wish to abide by Islamic law will no longer need to go to Boston to buy halal meat. The Planning Board last Thursday unanimously approved brothers Sayed and Khundmeer Mohammed's proposal to open an Islamic meat and grocery business in the 120 Cambridge Street strip mall. Sayed Mohammed, describing the new venture, emphasized that there would be no food preparation. "All the meat will come in from New York by truck, twice a week," he said. "We will be cutting meat but not further processing it in any way." The operation will resemble a delicatessen, according to Mohammed, rather than a traditional meat market.
Currently, he noted, halal meat is available only from the two shops in Boston that cater to this trade, necessitating a trip to the city for families wishing to hold to Moslem traditions. Muslim dietary laws provide a set of rules as to what Muslims eat in their diet. These rules specify the food that is halal, meaning lawful. Halal meat must be prepared in the presence of a Muslim. The carcass bleeds out so as to get rid of impurities. In addition to the meat operation, there will be a smaller grocery section. The store will operate six days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., closing on Mondays. The space was formerly occupied by the Islamic Center of Burlington, which has moved to the former Knights of Columbus building off Lexington Street.
The plaza is a group of condominiums including a store selling Chinese merchandise, a store selling Indian food and spices, a jewelry shop, a beauty salon and a book store. Disposition of waste from the operation provided the focus of discussion, when it became apparent that four existing dumpsters on the complex site are unlicensed and not enclosed. Mohammed agreed to place his dumpster on a pad and enclose it. He further noted that all waste will be sealed in plastic bags and deposited in the dumpster only on the day the dumpster will be emptied. Strong opposition to the change in usage came from seven existing tenants, who presented a petition against the move to the Planning Board. (MORE)