Tuesday, July 29 2014

Marine Le Pen makes halal meat election issue


As French presidential candidates get their campaigns underway for the first round of elections on April 22nd, French National Front (FN) leader, Marine le Pen, reverts to anti-Muslim type with claims that "All the abattoirs in the Paris region sell halal meat without exception." 

She told the FN party congress that "This situation is a real deception and the government has been fully aware of this situation for months," according to Reuters.“The main meat industry association, Interbev, denied the allegation saying the vast majority of the meat in Paris is not slaughtered under halal or kosher practices.

“"While some halal and kosher meat does find its way into other distribution channels that doesn't affect the quality of the product in any way," the association's president Dominique Langlois told France Info radio,” Reuters reports.

Le Pen’s adviser on immigration, Nicolas Bay, said that it was important that issues such as the halal meat claim were made public to show how Muslim values were increasingly influencing local policy and endangering France's secular tradition.

Much like the furore stoked by the Daily Mail on halal meat distribution in the UK, it is unlikely that far right leaders or journalists would stigmatise the free availability of kosher meat in European countries in the same way they do of halal meat.

As Marwan Muhammad, of the Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France, wrote a couple of weeks ago in a comment piece “How secularism is used to attack Muslims in France,”

“"Laïcité" is a typically French concept established in 1905 to separate religion from the state. It was designed to guarantee freedom of faith and avoid government intervention in religious affairs (and reciprocally, avoid religious pressures on government policy).

“Unfortunately, this idea has been manipulated in order to deny minorities their right to express their religion in any physical form, in a quest for "neutrality". This new interpretation aims at banning any religious expression from the public sphere and is mainly targeted at Muslims.”

There is no better example of Muhammad’s point, on the specific targeting of Muslims in France, than these efforts to make halal meat an election issue when religious slaughter is a ritual practiced in both Islam and Judaism.









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