Muslim man sues Little Caesars over ‘halal’ pepperoni
A Muslim man is suing Little Caesars Pizza for $100 million after he said he was given and accidentally ate a pizza containing pork pepperoni, despite ordering halal pepperoni.
Islamic law prohibits Muslims from eating pork.
The class action lawsuit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court on Thursday claims the restaurant violated Michigan State Law 750.297f, which it referred to as the “Wayne County Halal and Kosher Anti-Fraud and Truth-in-labeling ordinance.”
“They have no regard for people’s religious beliefs,” said attorney Majed Moughni, representing plaintiff Mohamad Bazzi. “This is a violation of the Muslim faith. You can’t be handing out pork, mislabeling it as halal and get away with it. This isn’t how America operates. A billion dollar corporation can’t get away with it.”
Named as defendants in the suit are Little Caesars Pizza, Little Caesar Enterprises Inc., a manager named Denise and two unnamed employees.
Bazzi, 32, claims that in two separate incidents — in March and May — he received pizzas with pork pepperoni when he had ordered halal pepperoni.
Jill Proctor, a Little Caesars spokeswoman, said the company believes the claim is without merit.
“Little Caesars cherishes our customers from all religions and cultures, and the communities we serve are very important to us,” Proctor said in a statement. “While we can’t comment on pending litigation, we take this claim very seriously.”
In the lawsuit, Bazzi said that on March 20 he went to the Little Caesars at 7315 Schaefer which has a sign in the window advertising that halal pepperoni was served at the location.
He alleges that he ordered a large pizza with halal pepperoni and received a box that was labeled as such. Bazzi said that he and his wife began eating the pizza and realized that they were eating pork pepperoni.
Bazzi and his wife became sick to their stomach, said his attorney, Majed Moughni.
“His wife is a Catholic convert (to Islam) who had eaten pork all her life,” Moughni said. “She knows the taste of pork. He was very angry, upset.”
Moughni said his client wondered how many others had unknowingly eaten pork pepperoni from the restaurant. Three days later, Bazzi filed a police report with the Dearborn Police Department, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit notes Bazzi went back to the restaurant on Wednesday to order another pizza and specifically asked for halal pepperoni. The lawsuit alleges that Bazzi received a pork pepperoni.
At the advice of his attorney, Bazzi returned to the restaurant to question the workers and to record the conversation. Moughni said the manager claims that Bazzi requested a Hot-n-Ready pepperoni pizza and that he requested a halal sticker be placed on the box. That’s a claim he denies.
The suit was filed on the eve of Ramadan, a holiday in which Muslims fast every day from dawn to sunset for 30 days. Moughni said his client was concerned that other Muslims may order a pizza to break their fasts.
Moughni said since filing the lawsuit he’s heard from another Muslim customer concerned that he may have received pork pepperoni.
“These people were unknowingly assaulted,” he said. “None of these employees seem to care.”