As Belgium bans kosher and halal food prep, religious freedom fears grow

By Catholic News Agency

Jews and Muslims in Belgium could face difficulty finding food prepared according to their religious rules, as new animal slaughter regulations banning kosher or halal slaughter began to take effect on January 1.

Joos Roets, a lawyer who represents a group of Islamic institutions, argued that the ban was intended to stigmatize some religious groups rather than its stated purpose, to protect animals from suffering. The government could have taken other steps to protect animals “without violating the Belgian freedom of religion,” Roets told the New York Times.

Both Muslim and Jewish rules regarding animal slaughter require that the animals be in perfect health at the time of slaughter. They are to be killed with a single cut to the neck.

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