Sweden: City bans halal meat in schools

Sweden: City bans halal meat in schools

There will be no more halal meat served in the schools of Eskilstuna (Sweden). On Thursday the politicians in the children and education committee will adopt the regulations on this issue.

The new guidelines for meals in preschools and schools the municipality requires that food and products will not be supplied based on ethical and religious grounds, such as halal meat.

According to Sophia Ånhed, food consultant, some preschools in the municipality previously bought halal meat due to an existing contract. But this will also be stopped when the regulations are adopted.

"Most municipalities don't serve halal meat. So we are not so unique," she says.

Those who would otherwise eat halal meat, will now be directed to the vegetarian and fish alternatives, which will be a satisfactory alternative to the meat.

Abd al Haqq Kielan, chairman of the Swedish Islamic Communities in Sweden, says that it's pure discrimination and indirectly an infringement of the law.

The decision has been made by the children and education committee already at their last meetings, but it was postponed since they wanted to study the case further after they got new information.

However, now the committe's chairman, social democrat Johan Nilsson, says that the decision will be made at the next meeting.

Johan Nilsson says that many other schools around the country have done the same, and that alternative courses will be offered. Therefore, he doesn't see it as discrimination and they're definitely not breaking the law.

Muslims, who belong to the Islamic religion, do not eat meat from animals which were slaughtered in the traditional Swedish way in Sweden, or if the animal has been shot, beaten to death or died on its own.

The halal slaughtering methods means that the animal is killed by cutting the carotid without stunning, it is the only method that Muslims accept.

There are hundreds of Muslim children in Eskilstuna preschools and schools, who starting from the fall will not be able to eat meat in the schools.

Abd Al Haqq Kielan, who is also an imam at the Sabirin mosque in Eskilstuna, says that the municipality risks committing an uncommonly targeted discrimination. These children will feel singled out. Halal slaughter is not illegal and the politicians apparently don't understand that.

He thinks that the Muslim children should have the same rights as the others and point out that schools around Stockholm serve halal meat.

Abd al Haqq Kielan says that the discriminating ombudsman already took up several such cases and gives us support. In the schools where halal meat is not served the children are forced, for example, to eat vegetarian, which doesn't satisfy their hunger. This means that they'll have difficulties following the school work and will be tired.

He thinks a ban on halal meat in the schools in Eskilstuna is abusing the children.

Source: Folket 1, 2 (Swedish)

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