Halal vs. Kosher

Geert Lambert is the leader of the Flemish Spirit party. He wrote the following on a public forum (Dutch):

"I don't push religious issues into state education. I do have respect for diversity. But isn't it strange that we have had no problems with kosher food yet we have difficulties with halal? I don't have a problem with both of these, just as I don't have a problem with those older people who still want to eat fish on Fridays.

I don't force anybody to eat fish on Friday, while many rest homes rarely have a different menu on that day."
[Eating fish on Friday is a Catholic custom]

Lambert was asked why he felt it necessary to bring up the issue of kosher food. After all, kosher food was never served, not to say forced, in state schools. Was he trying to stigmatize the Jewish community? Or redirect the anger from the Muslim community to the Jewish one?

Lambert took offense and replied that it is unfair to say he is anti-Semitic since he did say he was pro-diversity and that he had no problem with kosher food. That is, he preferred to ignore the sentence where he brings up the issue and focus on his conclusion - we don't have a problem with kosher food, therefore we shouldn't have a problem with halal either. He ignored the additional conclusion that can be reached: those who have a problem with halal food must also, by default, complain about kosher food and the Jewish community as well.

As to the when was the last time kosher food was forced on students in state schools? he simply ignored the question.

But that is the basic fact behind the question he himself has posed: why are there no problems with kosher food in state schools? Because state schools do not serve kosher food. So, isn't is strange that we have no problems with kosher food? No, it isn't.

Maybe Lambert should look into why Jews have never demanded that kosher food be served in state schools. He might learn something about how a minority learns to live with a majority instead of the other way around.

This might be a moot point soon, though, since in Antwerp already now the majority of pupils come from immigrant homes. In a study I recently read a Turkish mother who married a Turk explained why she would certainly speak Dutch to her kids: otherwise her kid would never hear Dutch spoken at all. Out on the street, they'll only hear Turkish.

I am not sure what point he's trying to make comparing Catholic customs and Islamic customs in a land with an overbearing Catholic majority, besides the fact that he's comparing private businesses to state run education. I would assume that next we'll wonder why nobody says a word when everybody takes off time on Christmas and Easter, which are century-old established holidays, but everybody complains when Muslims want Eid Al-Adha as a state holiday?

See also: Antwerp: Halal school trips, Antwerp: 65% of students come from non-Dutch speaking homes

I had originally mistranslated Lambert's point regarding eating fish on Fridays. As per Catholic Girl's comment below, I had reviewed what Lambert had said in the original post and fixed my translation accordingly.


Evan said...

Lambert took offense and replied that it is unfair to say he is anti-Semitic since he did say he was pro-diversity...

Forgive me if I am not terribly impressed by the power of this syllogism.

Anonymous said...

Eating fish on friday is catholic custom, not abstaining from it.

Esther said...

Catholic Girl,

You are right, of course. I mistranslated the original quote.