Bilal Ali, Imam of the Gainesville Islamic Cultural Center has launched a new premium halal meat service company called North Georgia Meats. The staff of Atlanta Mulim met up with Imam Bilal to find out more about this venture and the solution it offers to the Atlanta Muslim Community.
Here is the interview below:
Can you tell us more about yourself?
My name is Bilal Ali and I have been the Imam of the Gainesville Islamic Cultural Center since 1993. I am married to Sabirah since 1991 and Allah SWT Blessed us with 6 boys and 2 girls. I am deeply involved in the Gainesville community and I am a member of the Majlis Al-Shura of Atlanta Masjids. Aside from my business fields of construction management and Halal meat processing, I have a passion in volunteering in the fields of youth mentoring, crisis intervention, and family counseling.
What service are you providing?
We have established a company called North Georgia Meats which will focus on providing our clients with quality Zhabeeha meats that are fed, slaughtered, and processed properly according to Islamic principals. NGM is putting together a governing board of Imams who will certify and appoint a team of trained Halal meat slaughterers after learning from several USDA inspectors that there are some under-qualified Muslims currently doing that job in various plants. We also plan to hold our wholesalers responsible for what they allow to be delivered to our customers in terms of post processing meat quality. We wish to provide the best quality USDA certified meats in the area giving our customers the option to select the animal that they wish to be slaughtered and packaged on site. We currently have lambs and goats available for sacrifice during the upcoming Eid Al-Adha.
Why are you doing this?
We want to help the assure the health conscience consumer that the animal he or she wishes to purchase is fed, slaughtered, and processed properly. Most Muslim consumers are not aware of the source of meat sold at their local Halal grocery store. We aim to provide quality meats that we would comfortably eat ourselves rather than just providing any meat from any animal without knowing its history to make a quick profit. We also wish to provide the opportunity for our customers who wish to choose their own animal to do so at the farm so that they'll know its health condition and quality beforehand.
Can you share your background related to the meat business?
I started working in the Halal meat business since the 90's and noticed that most of the animals being processed were not of high quality. One day during lunch, the staff of the company I worked with would not eat its own cooked meat which made me question the quality even more. I then resigned from that good paying job and moved to Memphis to work with a different meat processing company as a plant manager but then eventually moved back to my home town of Gainesville. I made it a point to myself not to get back into this type of business unless I could supply quality Zhabeeha meats to the consumer, ensuring its entire process.
How are you going to provide this service?
We currently have access to hundreds of healthy grain fed animals in a contract farmfrom which we plan to provide our clients with fine quality meats using the services of a small USDA certified plant located in Jefferson, Georgia. We are still a small team using limited resources but with our community's support, we anticipate growing to have a full service farm and processing plant of our own Insha' Allah.
Do you provide home delivery service?
Our customers may pickup their meat after choosing their animal on the farm if they wish or we may deliver it to them in the Atlanta area for a nominal fee. Please visit NorthGeorgiaMeats.com for home delivery fees.
Great! So how do we place the order?
If you wish to learn more about NGM or to place an order, please visit our website NorthGeorgiaMeats.com or call / text me Imam Bilal Ali at 404-503-8331.
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