Houston halal store owner faces racist threats after being wrongfully accused of selling dog meat
A Houston halal meat grocery store owner has become the target of racist attacks and threats after a meat-delivery video posted on social media went viral.
The 47-second video posted Friday on Facebook shows employees of the Al-Ameen Grocery store unloading animal carcasses from what appears to be an ice cream truck. The video soon went viral with tens of thousands of shares and comments -- many likening the carcasses to those of dogs. Some commenters questioned the type, and cleanliness, of the meat sold at the halal store and others, made racist remarks.
The owner of the store, 57-year-old Abdulalim Abdurahman said he didn't know about the video until Sunday night when a customer called him to tell him about it.
"At first I thought it was a joke," he said. "Then I watched the video and I was just devastated."
Abdurahman said he bought the ice cream truck from the original owner about a month ago and hadn't had time to change the signage. Meat needs to be transported at a certain temperature for sanitation and ice cream trucks meet those safety standards, he explained.
Houston Health Department inspectors spent Monday morning checking over the store after receiving multiple complaints from people who watched the video, Abdurahman said. The store passed the inspection and was deemed safe.
But the damage is done.
"My business is suffering," he said. After the video was posted, several reviews were posted on popular food review website, Yelp, that referenced the video. "This is really going to affect us badly in the long term."
That's not the only way the store owner and his employees are being affected.
On Monday and Tuesday, Abdurahman says he received numerous racist phone calls and even had to call the police after a caller threatened to burn down his store. "It's really so sad," he said. "About 40 percent (of the calls) were supportive, but some had a very different tone."
Abdurahman wants to see the post taken down. He said he reached out to the original poster but has not heard back. "People are taking this seriously," he said. "He needs to bring it (the video) down."