Here is an article from the French journal 20 Minutes, translated by David Russell. Russell explains that it “concerns a controversy in a public school in a town outside of Lyon. Muslim pupils at the (public) school were refusing to eat meat that was not halal. The municipality responded that students who couldn’t accept that would no longer be able to eat at the school cafeteria…and the parents of Muslim pupils are crying ‘racism’!”
Here’s the translation of the important points:
“Villefranche Sticks Its Foot in Its Mouth”
There’s controversy on the menu. The town of Villefranche-sur-Saone is threatening to expel from public school cafeterias Muslim pupils who refuse to eat non-halal meat (meat coming from animals not slaughtered according to prescribed ritual). The pupils’ parents are finding this hard to digest…
This was all that was needed so that the smell of the affair would reach the noses of the MRAP (Movement Against Racism and for the Friendship Among Peoples). The regional head of this organization, Ahmed Kenniche, denounced the measure yesterday as “intolerable in every way, shape, and form”. He continued: “To say that students must eat what they are given means that Muslims have to eat pork. We are thinking of filing a lawsuit…This is a form of discrimination because the measure is aimed at Muslims…All that we are asking is that our children have the right to not eat meat that is served, either because it is not halal, or because it might carry mad cow disease”…
The Villefranche town hall could not be reached for comment.
Russell comments: “Notice how the newspaper is already writing as if it is the city that has made a mistake by issuing the order…this in a country which prides itself on its radically secular school system. What is also interesting is that these pupils are obviously not ‘forced’ to eat anything that they do not want to…so what we are probably seeing here, ‘bien sur,’ is the start of a move to get the public schools actually to get proactive and PROVIDE halal meats for pupils…and then a little further down the line we’ll probably see ALL French pupils eating halal meat because it will just be too costly to maintain a dual system.”