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Muslims And Jews Unite To Challenge Poland's Halal And Kosher Meat Ban

29/11/2013 15:11 GMT
JANEK SKARZYNSKI via Getty Images
Jewish, Muslim and Christian clergymen participate in the blessing of an ecumenical chapel at Poland's new national stadium in Warsaw on May 10, 2012 ahead of the EURO 2012. AFP PHOTO/JANEK SKARZYNSKI (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

A coalition of Jews and Muslims is to lodge a legal complaint against Poland, complaining of unfair treatment because of the ban on ritual slaughter.

Both Jews and Muslims insist that kosher and halal meat comes from an animal which has not been stunned before killing, and and is killed in accordance with religious instruction.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Director General of the European Jewish Association and Poland’s Head Mufti, Tomasz Miskiewicz, claim the Polish ban ''constitute a violation of the regulation on the protection of animals at the time of killing, which permits so-called ritual slaughter, without prior stunning, in the case of animals subject to particular methods of slaughter prescribed by religious rites.''

"The improper practices of Poland create uncertainty as to the ability to rely on directly applicable EU law and a threat to conducting ritual slaughter on the territory of Poland," they wrote in a letter to European Commissioner in charge of agriculture and rural development Dacian Ciolos.

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The joint statement warns that Jews and Muslims may seek to take action in the European Courts to overturn the 2012 ban, which was prompted by animal rights concerns.

Margolin told the European Jewish Press: "The ritual of kosher butchering is being performed all over the world since thousands of years.

"Any outside interference in Jewish customs will be considered as a violation of freedom of religion for the entire Jewish community in Poland and will hurt tens of thousands of Jewish tourists and investors that have visited the country that has been seeded with so many sites drenched in Jewish blood and ashes."

Perhaps surprisingly, Polish Jews themselves are less keen on lobbying on the issue, with Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich expressing his desire to work out the issue within his country's own legislature, rather than looking for the EU to take action.

Jews and Muslims has worked together regularly in the the UK when the issue of ritual slaughter, but also of circumcision, has been the political spotlight in the UK.

In 2012, Jewish and Muslim organisations staged a joint protest in Berlin over a court's ruling that the circumcision of a young boy constituted bodily harm.