Proposed ritual slaughter ban unites minority communities in anger

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Religious communities in the Netherlands are up in arms at a proposed new law to ban ritual slaughter.

The Party for Animals (PvdD), which has two seats in the 150-member Lower House of Parliament, secured a huge majority of 116 votes to 30 for its proposal in June.

Party leader Marianne Thieme insists that the law complies with the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees religious freedom.

But such is the strength in Islamic and Jewish communities that they have set up a joint lobby to campaign against what they call “the constant infringement of our religious identity”.

Members of the Upper House, who are considering the bill today, have been sent petitions by the group protesting against “disturbing secular domination”.

Rabbis have been flown in from around the world, reports compiled laying out the scientific justification for ritual slaughter, and MPs invited to witness a shochet (Jewish ritual slaughterer) at work.

Ibrahim Wijbenga, chairman of the Islamic Burial Society, said the debate was tarnishing the image of religious minorities.

He said: “The Jewish and Islamic communities are being portrayed as medieval groups who cling to barbaric methods.

“Even if the ban is defeated, we will still be left with this negative impression.”

Wijbenga, who serves as a Christian Democrat (CDA) councillor in Eindhoven, added that Muslim politicians of all parties had encountered deep anger around the country.

He said: “There is a sense that politics has no compassion for religious minorities. First attacks on headscarves, then halal meat: what is the next step? I hear that often.”

Source: De Volkskrant: Samen in geweer tegen aanval op halalvlees, 'we zijn in shock'
Photo by Marien van Os

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