Belgium’s Southern region has outlawed Halal and Kosher meat. The move is being labelled as, ‘the greatest assault on Jewish religious rights since Nazi occupation’.
The Walloon area could be the the first domino in a law that is set to sweep across the entire country.
Halal (Muslim) and kosher (Jewish) meat involves cutting the throats of fully conscious animals in a bid to pledge gratitude to God.
Animals rights activists, however, have praised the move, while advising the alternative way of stunning the animal before slaughtering it.
The law will be implemented in the cities of Liege and Charleroi, including the surrounding region by September 2019.
The Flemish region, which houses Antwerp, Ghent, and Brussels will see this law take place in January 2019.
Moshe Kantor, the President of the European Jewish Congress said, “It attacks the very core of our culture and religious practice and our status as equal citizens with equal rights in a democratic society.”
“We call on legislators to step back from the brink of the greatest assault on Jewish religious rights in Belgium since the Nazi occupation of the country in World War Two.”
The regional minister of animal welfare, Ben Weyts, previously expressed his approval before the legislation was brought in, saying that kosher and halal slaughters are old-fashioned.
“Unstunned slaughter is outdated,” Weyts said. “In a civilized society, it is our damn duty to avoid animal suffering where possible.”
The Belgian Muslim Executive disagrees. “Muslims are worried about whether they can eat halal food in conformity with their religious rites and beliefs.”
Critics have also pointed to Belgium’s position as the home of the Council of the European Union.
Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.”
“Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
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