The case involves Sindbad Market in Portland. According to the Agriculture Department’s Office of Inspector General, the market made four fraudulent transactions with three ineligible customers. Because the owner was personally involved in one of the transactions, that ordinarily would trigger a one-year suspension of the ability to accept food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
But an attorney for Sindbad Market asked for and received an exemption in September on grounds that suspension would cause a hardship for Muslim food stamp recipients, who rely on the market for its preparation of halal meat, in accordance with Islamic law. The federal government agreed to impose a $33,000 fine instead.