The Netherlands, one of Europe's first countries to allow Jews to practice their religion openly, may soon pass a law banning the kosher slaughter of animals. An alliance of a small animal rights party and the larger xenophobic Freedom Party of Geert Wilders is spearheading support for the ban on kosher and halal slaughter methods.
Jewish and Muslim groups have called the proposed bill an affront to freedom of religion.
"I can speak for the Dutch Jewish Community and I think for the wider Jewish world, that this law raises grave concerns about infringements on religious freedom," Ruben Vis, secretary-general of the Dutch Jewish umbrella organization NIK, told the news agency AP. Abdulfatteh Ali-Salah, director of Halal Correct, a certification body for Dutch halal meat, said he felt the debate made Muslims in the Netherlands feel Dutch society was more interested in animal welfare than fair treatment of its Muslim citizens. "If the law goes through now there's nothing else to do but protest," he said. "And that's what we'll do."