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June 29, 2017 10:54 am

Belgian Regional Parliament Passes Law Banning Kosher Slaughter

avatar by Ben Cohen

The parliament building in the Belgian region of Flanders. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The parliament in Flanders, the predominantly Flemish-speaking province of Belgium, voted by a near-unanimous majority to ban the ritual slaughter of animals on Wednesday.

Only one deputy in the regional parliament voted against the measure, which will require animals slaughtered for human consumption to be stunned first — a rule that violates the religious laws for preparing both kosher and halal meat products.

The vote comes one month after the same measure was passed by the parliament in Wallonia, the country’s French-speaking region. Reacting to that vote, Philippe Markiewicz, president of the Consistoire organization of Belgian Jewry, reminded legislators that the “last assault on ritual slaughter was in October 1940 under the Nazi occupation, because they knew how important it was for Jews.”

Following the vote in Flanders, Chief Rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt — the president of the Conference of European Rabbis — declared: “The news that the Flanders region of Belgium has joined Wallonia in passing a legislation banning religious slaughter is a clear attack on religious practices and a worrying omen for the future of religious rites across Europe. We cannot tolerate bans on religious practices. Leaders across Europe must protest against the ban and work to protect our religious freedoms.”

Belgium is one of several countries where Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter is currently prohibited. Others include Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand.

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