World, Life, Europe

Jewish group appeals Belgian slaughter ban

Jewish leader says slaughter ban sends 'clear message' to Jewish, Muslim communities they are not welcome in Belgium

28.11.2017
Jewish group appeals Belgian slaughter ban

By Serife Cetin

BRUSSELS

Belgium's Jewish community has filed a lawsuit over legislation banning the slaughter of un-stunned animals in the country’s Francophone Walloon region.

Muslim and Jewish groups had voiced concerns over the prohibition, claiming it would effectively criminalize halal and kosher slaughter.

The lawsuit was submitted on Monday to the country's constitutional court by the umbrella representative of Belgium’s Jewish Organizations, the CCOJB, the group said on Tuesday.

The ban had been approved by the Walloon parliament in May and will come into force on Sep. 1, 2019.

In July, the parliament in the country's Flemish-speaking Flanders region also followed suit and applied the ban on the slaughter of un-stunned animals.

CCOJB President Yohan Benizri said in a statement: "It sends a clear message to Belgium’s Jewish and Muslim communities that they are not welcome here."

"This is a violation of Belgian constitutional principles, EU law, and the freedom of religion enshrined as a fundamental right - we will challenge it as such, in Wallonia and in Flanders," Benizri added.

The COOJB acts as the branch of the European Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress.

Similar laws have been passed in Switzerland and Denmark but similar prohibitions have been lifted in Poland and Greece.

* Ilker Girit contributed to this story from Istanbul.

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