Belgian Ban on Kosher Slaughter Goes into Effect

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A ban on kosher slaughter goes into effect on Sunday in the French-speaking Wallonia province of Belgium.

The new law requires the animals to receive an electric shock before slaughter, in a manner contrary to halakha.

This is the second such law to be is implemented in the country, after a similar law was applied in the Flemish province of Belgium about nine months ago.

The Conference of European Rabbis (CER), which is waging a fierce campaign against anti-religious legislation in Europe, expressed great concern over the law.

CER President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt called for the intervention of EU leaders. “The attack on religious freedom in the European capital must be of concern to European leadership. The capital of Europe in its legislation and its intolerance for minorities proves that radical Islam has defeated it. Even though we have been able to curb legislative attempts against Judaism in many European countries and legislative initiatives in the European Parliament and in the EU institutions, we are at war and we mobilize the international community every day for this war. This is another sad day for Europe’s darkening skies.”

“It is regrettable once again that out of the heart of Europe, a place which should serve as an example for all countries on the continent, comes a call for a war on religious freedom of minorities. The EU capital once again casts a dark stain over Europe’s darkening skies.”

Rabbi Goldschmidt made it clear that, for Belgian Jews, the decision is not final. “Jews also gave up their lives in the darkest times in history to eat kosher food and to circumcise their children. It was only 75 years ago that the Third Reich, in cruel hypocrisy, banned kosher slaughter in the name of ‘humanity’, brutally slaughtered millions of Jews and destroyed Europe. We will fight with the Jewish community in Belgium against these unfortunate decisions with all the tools at our disposal.”

The Chief Rabbi of Belgium and the CER representative in the EU institutions, Rabbi Avraham Gigi, stated that “while we are talking with the sane leadership in Europe and receiving practical assistance and resolutions to fight the anti-Jewish legislation, there are still those who try to restrict our lives here. Anti-religious legislation is a threat to Jewish life in Europe.”

He noted that a petition against the legislation was filed in the Belgian Constitutional Court, but the petition was forwarded to the EU Human Rights Court in Luxembourg. “We express cautious optimism as the judges in Luxembourg are neutral and their rulings in the past have been against violating religious freedom and human rights. We will continue to fight resolutely against these decisions until they are repealed.”

Rabbi Gigi noted that even in the largest province of Belgium, Brussels, there are steps being taken towards passing the same legislation. “We are very concerned about the effect created here and which may seep into Europe as a whole,” the rabbi warned.

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