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Wed 11 Sep 2013 04:53 PM

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Polish Muslims furious over halal ban

Muslim community says EU directive should supersede Polish law

Polish Muslims furious over halal ban
(AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Muslim groups in Poland have hit out at the country’s ban on halal slaughter, claiming it is invalid under European Union law.

According to news agency AFP, Poland’s top Muslim leader Mufti Tomasz Miskiewicz said that an EU directive stating that religious groups are exempted from a requirement to stun animals before they are slaughtered “supersedes [Poland’s] national law”.

Poland’s Muslim community commissioned a legal analysis of the country’s controversial law, which was introduced at the start of this year after the Constitutional Court ruled that slaughter of animals under halal and kosher rules was incompatible with animal rights legislation.

Under the rules of kosher and halal, animals are slaughtered by slitting their throats and then draining the blood.

A bill to overturn the ban was struck down by lawmakers in July.

Poland exported about €350m ($46m) worth of kosher and halal meat annually prior to the ban being introduced, according to AFP.

Miskiewicz has now forwarded the legal analysis to Poland’s Ministry of Agriculture requesting that the ban be overturned.

Poland’s Muslims and Jews are both minorities in the country of 38m, with each community numbering around 20,000 to 30,000. The overwhelming majority of the country is Catholic.