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Poland's chief rabbi decries ban on ritual animal slaughter

July 23, 2013 at 1:19 PM

WARSAW, Poland, July 23 (UPI) -- Poland's extension of the ban on the religious ritual slaughter of animals for meat is harming Polish-Jewish relations, the country's chief rabbi said Tuesday.

At issue is a recent parliamentary vote to extend the ban on kosher and halal slaughter, which legislators say is incompatible with the country's animal rights laws. The Constitutional Court upheld the ban in December 2012, the Polish news agency PAP reported.

After meeting with government officials and Tomasz Miskiewicz, the mufti of the Muslim Religious Association, in Warsaw, Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich said this is "the most difficult moment for Polish-Jewish relations in 24 years," since the fall of Communism.

Miskiewicz added the ban was equivalent to "Polish Catholics being told they could not eat carp at Christmas."

Michal Boni, minister of administration and digitalization, said the matter would be returned to court and argued on the basis of whether banning the ancient ritual was incompatible with Polish laws regarding religious freedom.

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