The mayor said “it’s pork or nothing” on the grounds that France is a secular republic that does not give religion a place in state institutions. Now this will be even more severely challenged than it has been in recent years. The challenge will proceed on the basis that this mayor is being hateful and “Islamophobic”: “Telling a small child that ‘you will eat less today because there’s pork on the menu’ is difficult to comprehend. You feel it is discrimination. You hear comments like, ‘if you don’t like it, take your children home’. It hurts.”
In today’s therapeutic nanny-state culture, we above all cannot have anything that “hurts.” Thus the French will set laicïté to avoid hurting Muslim feelings — or stand for it even as it becomes increasingly more difficult and dangerous to do so. I don’t know which one the French will ultimately choose, although I tend to think they will ultimately abandon laicïté and make special accommodations for Muslims. In any case, that is the choice they will certainly face.
Muslim parents have reacted angrily in a French town after the mayor announced it was ‘pork or nothing’ for school lunches, under the principles of the secular republic which dictates that religion should have no place in state institutions – including schools.
The change came after the catering company that provides meals to the 180 students in the small town of Sargé-lès-Le-Mans in southern France reported difficulties providing alternate meals for the 15 Muslim children on pork-based meal days. Declaring the local school free of religious influence, what in France is known as “laicïté”, or the “principle of Republican neutrality”, the mayor told parents it would from thereon be “pork or nothing”, TheLocal.fr reports.
The decision has upset Muslim parents in the town, who expect alternate meals for their children. One mother, who’s son Tariq told reporters “I need meat, it’s important” said: “Telling a small child that ‘you will eat less today because there’s pork on the menu’ is difficult to comprehend. You feel it is discrimination.
“You hear comments like, ‘if you don’t like it, take your children home’. It hurts”.
After banning the full-face covering burqa in public in 2010, the expense on Halal meals by the French taxpayer has become a significant matter of public discourse, with a number of politicians giving their opinions on the matter. Front National leader Marine Le Pen announced that towns run by the party’s mayors would no longer offer Halal meals.
She told French radio: “We will accept no religious requirements in the school lunch menus… There is no reason for religion to enter into the public sphere.”
This year a court in Lyon overturned a ruling that prisons had to serve Halal meals to inmates, claiming that failing to do so harmed a Muslim’s right to practice his religion in prison. The court found because there is a vegetarian alternative, an additional Halal meal was unnecessary….