Europe

Belgian Muslims, Jews submit petition protesting ban on animal slaughter by religious rules

‘This law is unfair, wrong, targets religious minorities, especially Muslims, Jews,’ says Albert Gigi, chief rabbi of the Belgian capital region, presenting petition with 127,000 signatures

Selen Temizer and Esra Taskin   | 01.06.2022
Belgian Muslims, Jews submit petition protesting ban on animal slaughter by religious rules

BRUSSELS

Belgian Muslims and Jews on Wednesday presented 127,000 signatures protesting a proposed ban on the slaughter of animals using their traditional religious rules, known respectively as halal and kosher.

On the last day of about two weeks of debate over the proposed ban in the capital region, representatives of the Muslim and Jewish communities and other members of the public gathered in front of the Brussels Region Parliament to show solidarity in presenting their protest petition.

“We’ve been fighting for a long time because this law the Brussels Parliament is trying to pass in the name of protecting animal welfare is a serious violation of religious freedoms,” Coskun Beyazgul, head of the Belgian Religious Foundation and spokesperson for the Belgian Islamic Coordination Board, told Anadolu Agency.

“If such a decision is made in Brussels, Muslims and Jews will face a great injustice,” said Beyazgul, adding if the law is passed, it will thanks to extreme rightists and racists.

“It would be very bad to give this message from a place where so many different religions and cultures live in peace, in Belgium, and the capital of Europe, Brussels.”

Albert Gigi, the chief rabbi of Brussels, added: “This law is unfair and wrong. It targets religious minorities, especially Muslims and Jews.”

Claiming that some are trying to paint Jews and Muslims as anti-animal welfare, Gigi said: "What is unacceptable for us is the prohibition of slaughter according to religious rituals, claiming that by stunning, knocking out, or suffocation by breathing gas, this hurts the animal less."

In December 2020, a ban on animal slaughter in Belgium’s Flanders region according to traditional Muslim and Jewish rules was upheld by the European Court of Justice.

Muslim scholars argue that the halal method of slaughter is humane and involves the least suffering for the animal, with a nearly instantaneous death.

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