A leader of France’s top Muslim organization is condemning a court decision that would jeopardize a decades-old policy in which public schools offer substitutes for pork when the meat turns up on lunch menus. (Oh, Noes! Will Muslim children be forced to bring a bag lunch to school now? Will the taxpaying French public have to fund that, too?)
Arab News (h/t Robert S) Abdullah Zekri of the French Council of the Muslim Faith said Thursday he is worried that the ruling a day earlier in eastern Dijon could sow discord with Muslims in France — a country that in recent years has struggled to find a balance between its secular principles and its respect for religious beliefs.
A legal defense team for Muslims had sought to block application of an order earlier this year by Gilles Platret, the conservative mayor of nearby Chalons-sur-Saone, to pull pork substitutes from school menus. Such substitutes are offered across France, in addition to vegetarian alternatives.
Lawyers on both sides said the ruling was not final, and was based more on procedural grounds than a full debate on the issue. But on Twitter, Platret called the ruling a victory for secularism in France. Many French defend a strict separation of religion and state as laid out in a 1905 law to guarantee secularism. Philippe Petit, a lawyer for Chalons-sur-Saone, said on BFM-TV that religion “stops at the (public) school door.”
A few years ago, in March of the Pigs, dozens of French citizens wearing pig masks (below) protested ‘Quick’ fast food chain after it announced that all of its food would be sharia-compliant halal food.
The law has underpinned moves by recent French governments to pass bans on face-covering Muslim veils as well as headscarves, Jewish skullcaps and overly visible Christian crosses in public schools.
France is home to western Europe’s largest Muslim population, estimated at more than 5 million people. Like observant Jews, observant Muslims don’t eat pork. (But unlike Muslims, observant Jews aren’t throwing a hissy fit over it)
Zekri, who also heads the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, called the mayor’s order a provocation that could lead students to inspect each other’s plates and serve as “a factor for conflict.”
Some comments under the article:
“Pork should be banned globally. What Quran says about pork is absolutely true. Apart from Quran few other religious books also talks against pork. it should not be consumed.”
“So much for freedom of speech, France is restricting even freedom to wear and freedom to eat.”