It seems that the subject of ‘ritually slaughtered’ meat is being made a real issue as political parties in France try and win-over voters from the far-right in the wake of upcoming presidential elections.
Reuters reports that the French PM Francois Fillon told French Muslims and Jews yesterday to drop their slaughter laws because they “don't have much in common with today's state of science, technology and health problems". The debate kicked-off last month when the leader of the French National Front, Marine Le Pen claimed that "All the abattoirs in the Paris region sell halal meat without exception."
“France's prime minister urged Muslims and Jews to consider scrapping their halal and kosher slaughter laws on Monday as President Nicolas Sarkozy and his allies stepped up their efforts to woo far-right voters.
“Prime Minister Francois Fillon made the suggestion after Sarkozy called at the weekend for butchers to clearly label meat slaughtered according to religious laws and his allies warned immigrants might impose halal meat on French schoolchildren.
“Fillon and other conservative leaders linked this tough stand on ritually prepared meat to issues such as immigration and French identity that the far-right National Front uses to tap into resentment against Europe's largest Muslim minority.
"Religions should think about keeping traditions that don't have much in common with today's state of science, technology and health problems," Fillon told Europe 1 radio while discussing the two-round presidential election.
Fillon added that, "We live in a modern society”.
The head of France’s Muslim Council, Mohammed Moussaoui said that halal and kosher slaughter is no more painful than modern methods, namely stunning, and that changes to labeling which would mean that meat would have to be labeled as prepared ‘without stunning’ would “stigmatise Muslims and Jews as people who don't respect the interests of animals."
"That will raise tensions in society."
Reuters states that after Le Pen’s mentioning of ritual slaughter last month, “The issue caught hold and Sarkozy's campaign countered with ever tougher statements on immigration and ringing defences of French civilisation and secularism -- code words implying some of the five million Muslims here did not share these values.
“Interior Minister Claude Gueant warned last week that giving immigrants the right to vote in municipal elections, as the Socialist want, would lead to Muslims forming majorities on local councils and imposing halal meat in school canteens.
“Sarkozy's former Justice Minister Rachida Dati, a Muslim, told the daily Le Figaro such comments "mix up French Muslims and foreigners. French Muslims are citizens like any other." “
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