Poland to amend animal rights law to legalise kosher and halal slaughter

A new bill on the amendment to Poland’s animal rights law to make kosher and halal slaughter legal in Poland has been submitted for public consultation, a spokesperson for the Ministry of agriculture has announced.

Spokeswoman Małgorzata Książyk says the public consultation period will last one week, following a Constitutional Court ruling late last year which said that ritualised slaughter of animals for religious purposes was inconsistent with Polish animal rights law.

The court concluded that a 2004 amendment that introduced exceptions to an animal protection law that forbade the slaughter of animals without prior stunning was “unconstitutional.”

Last week, the new draft law, which would make Polish law compatible with European Union regulations, was considered by the Standing Committee of the Council of Ministers, and the bill has now been passed on to social and trade union organizations for consultation.

TheNews.pl, 24 January 2013

Polish court reportedly rules against allowing ritual slaughter

A constitutional court in Poland reportedly has ruled against allowing Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter in the country. The Warsaw court’s ruling, which was made known on Tuesday, said the government had acted unconstitutionally when it exempted Jews and Muslims from stunning animals before slaughtering them as their faiths require, according to Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland.

JTA, 27 November 2012

See also “Polish court bans ritual slaughter, EU gives go-ahead”,AFP, 27 November 2012

Netherlands: Jewish and Muslim communities combine to resist ban on ritual slaughter

A new covenant aims to allow Jews and Muslims to continue to perform ritual slaughter of animals while answering the broadly supported call to prevent animal suffering.

After years of heated argument and increased polarization, the parties sat down in front of invited journalists to sign a carefully agreed covenant. The Jewish and Muslim representatives shook hands and, relieved, signed their names to the document.

In this case, Jews and Muslims were on the same side. The covenant they signed, along with Deputy Minister of Agriculture Henk Bleker, is a compromise that will allow Jews and Muslims in the Netherlands to continue the practice of ritual slaughter.

RNW, 6 June 2012

Islamophobia harms Poland

Almost 55 percent of all Poles have a negative attitude to Islam, 30 percent more than four years ago according to a survey by the marketing research company TNS Obop. This Islamophobia is difficult to explain and above all harms Poland’s reputation abroad, writes political scientist Klaus Bachmann in the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza:

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Human rights activist warns of growing Islamophobia in Poland

Rafal PankowskiA leading Polish human rights activist warned of growing Islamophobia in his country in an exclusive interview with IRNA in Berlin.

“In general Islamophobia has become one of the big issues. I would say it is growing and I am afraid it will grow further. We see more and more talk about the so-called danger of Islam,” said the coordinator of the Warsaw-based anti-racist organization NEVER AGAIN, Rafal Pankowski. He linked the rise of “the relatively new” phenomenon of Islamophobia in his country to the global situation, particularly to Poland’s role in the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Pankowski said Muslims in Poland have been repeatedly the target of racial assaults, especially since the September 11, 2011 terror attacks. He added Chechen refugees in Poland have also been victimized by anti-Islam hate crime. Pankowski emphasized that the Polish media is not always covering Islamophobic attacks against Muslims. He said “more than 50 people” have died as a result of racial assaults in Poland since the early 90s when hate crimes were monitored and registered.

Pankowski also stressed there were major segments within the Polish Catholic Church who were “quite hostile to Muslims”. “Radio Maria which is a (Catholic) radio station but is also a big social movement, is a xenophobic movement. They strongly spoke out against Islam,” Pankowski pointed out.

The activist said the Polish right-wing is influenced or tries to copy the anti-Islamic rhetoric in some of the other European countries. Pankowski said the issue of Muslim migration to Poland is being exploited politically by the right-wing scene. He added that plans for the construction of a much-needed mosque in Warsaw were used “to mobilize” against Muslims in Poland.

IRNA, 13 September 2011

Prejudice against Muslims is general across Europe, report finds

Via Islam in Europe here is the section on anti-Muslim prejudice from the new Friedrich Ebert Foundation publication, Intolerance, Prejudice and Discrimination: A European Report (summary of the study here).

Anti-Muslim Attitudes

After statistical testing, three statements were used to produce the anti-Muslim attitudes mean scale (Table 7, items 18 to 20). These cover the general impression that there are too many Muslims in the country, the charge that Muslims make too many demands, and broad-brush criticism of Islam as a religion of intolerance. Four further statements were surveyed in a random half of the sample. These cover a positive attitude that sees Muslims as an enrichment and the idea that there are great cultural differences between the majority society and Muslims, especially concerning attitudes towards women. We also surveyed the idea that Muslims generally support and condone terrorism.

In most of the countries a majority believe Islam to be a religion of intolerance, with agreement just below 50 percent only in Great Britain and the Netherlands. In almost all the countries more than half of respondents said that Muslims make too many demands; Portugal was the only exception with about one third. The statement that there are too many Muslims in the country is affirmed by just over one quarter in Portugal and by about one third in France. In Germany, Great Britain, Italy and the Netherlands more than 40 percent of respondents complain that there are too many Muslims in their country, in Hungary about 60 percent.

Interviewees were also asked to respond to four further statements covering perceived cultural differences and supposed affinity of Muslims toward terrorism (Table 7, items 22 to 25). Despite correlating closely with anti-Muslim attitudes these items represent separate constructs and were therefore excluded from the scale measure.


The figures for those who say that Muslim culture is compatible with their own range from 17 percent in Poland and 19 percent in Germany to about half the population in Portugal and France. A majority of more than 70 percent of European respondents find that Muslim attitudes towards women are incompatible with their own values. Overall in the surveyed countries about one third think that Muslims treat Islamist terrorists as heroes, although somewhat fewer believe that terrorism finds moral support in the Muslim community (ranging from under 20 percent in Germany and the Netherlands to nearly 30 percent in Hungary).

The scale created from the first three statements clearly illustrates the extent of anti-Muslim attitudes in the studied countries (Figure 5). It is conspicuous that Europeans are largely united in their rejection of Muslims and Islam. The significantly most widespread anti-Muslim attitudes are found in Germany, Hungary, Italy and Poland, closely followed by France, Great Britain and the Netherlands. The extent of anti-Muslim attitudes is least in Portugal. In absolute terms, however, the eight countries differ little in their levels of prejudice towards Muslims.


Update:  See comments by ENGAGE, 16 March 2011

Poll: half of Europeans oppose headscarf in schools

Just over half of Europeans surveyed opposed allowing Islamic headscarves in schools but backed the presence of crucifixes in classrooms, according to a Spanish study obtained by AFP Wednesday.

A total 52.6 per cent of those polled in 12 European Union member states along were “opposed” or “totally opposed” to the use of the garment in schools, according to the study carried out by the research department of BBVA, Spain’s second-largest bank. Opposition to the veil was highest in Bulgaria with 84.3 per cent against and France with 68.7 per cent opposed and it was lowest in Poland with only 25.6 per cent against followed by Denmark with 28.1 per cent opposed.

By contrast 54.4 per cent of those polled were in favour of classrooms displaying crucifixes. In Spain and Italy, two nations with a strong Roman Catholic tradition, support for the use of crucifixes in classrooms stood at 69.9 per cent and 49.3 per cent respectively. Support for the use of crucifixes in classrooms shot up to 77 per cent in Britain and 78.8 per cent in Denmark.

AFP, 28 April 2010

Warsaw mosque protest: Buddhists join hands with skinheads against Muslims

Warsaw mosque protestOn 27 March a previously previously unknown group, Europe of the Future, held a protest against the proposal to build a new mosque in Warsaw (see here and here).

A reader from Poland has drawn our attention to the rather bizarre fact that a Buddhist organisation played a leading role in the protest. The organisation is called Diamond Way and is headed by a Dane named Ole Nydahl. Our correspondent tells us that “members of the Diamond Way organisation were prominent in TV coverage of the demonstration against the mosque”.

Indeed, the Polish journalist Robert Stefanicki reports that Europe of the Future is headed by the former president of of Nydahl’s organisation in Poland. Stefanicki adds: “Other supporters of Europe of the Future are Mlodziez Wszechpolska (All-Polish Youths) – ultra right group with hardly hidden fascist attraction, as well as other islamophobic right wingers. Weird coalition, isn’t it?”

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Rally in Warsaw to protest mosque

Warsaw mosque protest posterDozens of people rallied on Saturday in Warsaw to protest plans by the country’s Muslim community to build a second mosque in the city.

Poland’s Muslim population, though growing, is still tiny and such protests are unusual. The event offered evidence that anxieties gripping the rest of Europe are now also taking root in this former communist country, as well.

The emotional rally drew a small group of counter-protesters. Police formed a barrier between the two sides, which had gathered at the mosque’s construction site in an outlying Warsaw neighbourhood.

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