TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- New Jersey is poised to become the first state in the nation to enact a law regulating the sale of food prepared under Muslim dietary laws.
The legislation, which passed the state Assembly and Senate unanimously and headed to Gov. Christie Whitman, would put New Jersey at the head of efforts to bring Islam on equal legal footing with Christianity and Judaism.
Many Muslim leaders, who lobbied the state Legislature to pass a law similar to the statute that regulates kosher food for Jews, praised the bill as a sign of the growing significance of their religion in mainstream America.
The New Jersey bill offers protection from pricing fraud by providing for fines and requires producers to promise to follow halal strictures, which are taken from the Koran and based on dietary laws set out in the Hebrew bible.
Among other things, both religions contain bans against pork or eating carrion and are similar in their restrictions on how animals are slaughtered.
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