Polish Muslims drop Eid sacrifice amid protests, halal ban

By AFP
Published: October 15, 2013

Leaders of Poland's Muslim and Jewish religious minorities argue the ban violates their constitutionally guaranteed religious freedoms. PHOTO: FILE

WARSAW / VILNIUS: Poland’s Muslim community decided Tuesday to refrain from the ancient tradition of animal sacrifice for the Eid al-Adha holiday amid protests by animal rights activists and a controversial ban on halal slaughter.

“For the first time in hundreds of years, there was no ritual slaughter here today for the Eid feast,” Michal Adamowicz, a spokesman for the community, said Tuesday in the Muslim Tatar village of Bohoniki, eastern Poland.

The country’s top Muslim leader, Mufti Tomasz Miskiewicz, said his community was suffering a “witch hunt” as activists protested against halal slaughter near a small wooden mosque in the village, where other Muslims appeared ready to slaughter sheep.

Several hundred descendants of Muslim Tatars, who arrived in Poland three centuries ago, live in the area.

Muslim and Jewish ritual slaughter was banned in overwhelmingly Catholic Poland on January 1 after the Constitutional Court deemed it incompatible with animal rights legislation.

On July 12, lawmakers struck down a government bill that would have reinstated the practice, angering the religious communities, as well as farmers and exporters of meat to Israel and Muslim countries.

The industry exported up to 350 million euros ($460 million) worth of kosher and halal meat a year before the ban.

European Union rules on livestock slaughter are designed to minimise animal suffering, but religious groups are exempted from a requirement that animals be stunned before death.

Under age-old kosher and halal rules, animals are killed by slitting their throats without first being stunned.

Leaders of Poland’s Muslim and Jewish religious minorities argue the ban violates their constitutionally guaranteed religious freedoms, and the Jewish community has asked the top court to rule on the matter.

Polish Muslims also say the ban, which has spurred intense debate both at home and abroad, is invalid under European law.

“Please respect our rights, please respect the Constitution and the heritage of Muslims and Polish Tatars, without emotion, in a civilised way,” Miskiewicz told reporters.

Government reaction on Tuesday was mixed.

Administration Minister Michal Boni — a close ally of centrist Prime Minister Donald Tusk — urged “respect for the needs of religious communities during religious holidays”.

But the agriculture ministry issued a dry statement that by law animals must be stunned before being slaughtered on licenced premises.

The Jewish and Muslim communities each number around 20,000 to 30,000 in Poland, an EU member of some 38 million people.

Lithuania moves to legalise ritual slaughter amid Polish ban

Lithuania on Tuesday took a step towards legalising the ritual slaughter of livestock for food, seeking to expand its exports after neighbouring Poland imposed a ban.

“Arab countries and Israel represent new opportunities for meat exporters,” lawmaker Vytautas Gapsys, who tabled the draft legislation, told parliament.

In the first reading, 51 lawmakers in the 141-seat parliament voted in favour of legalisation and two against, with seven abstentions.

According to EU law, animals in Lithuania and other member countries must be stunned before slaughter.

Kosher and halal slaughter require that an animal be killed by slitting its throat without first being stunned.

Two more parliamentary votes and a presidential signature are needed to approve the law that would exempt religious communities from the requirement.

Lithuania’s tiny Jewish community on Tuesday welcomed the move.

“We would be pleased if the law is adopted. It could encourage exports and would also be important for the local community,” community leader Faina Kukliansky told AFP.

The Jewish and Muslim communities each number around 3,000 people in the Baltic nation of three million people, which joined the European Union and NATO in 2004 and currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

Reader Comments (46)

  • FromPoland
    Oct 15, 2013 - 11:44PM

    It was sad day for us but at least we are safe & we pray for safety of our Pakistanis in Pakistan & wish Eid Mubarak to all.

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  • Oct 15, 2013 - 11:45PM

    Do they don’t have Burgers? Don’t they slaughter Turkey on their Christian occasions, it is biased attitude.

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  • unbelievable
    Oct 16, 2013 - 12:03AM

    Your customs don’t give you a right to inflict unnecessary pain on animal anymore than they allow you to marry children – world has evolved and it’s time you evolved. Stunning animals is humane and if that interferes with your “culture” (Muslim or Jew) – tough.

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  • ashar
    Oct 16, 2013 - 12:56AM

    @FromPoland:
    you will remain safe as long as you submit. This is the beginning and next will be the Hijab. They will make an amendment in the basic human right charter that every body has a right to recognize other by face so no to Hijab. You will submit and shall remain safe. we will sacrifice our animals tomorrow morning and may be we die in the evening what is the difference if we die and you live…….But .what about hereafter if you are really a Muslim.

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  • Zia Mian
    Oct 16, 2013 - 12:57AM

    eating Turkey on Thanksgiving has nothing to do with chritianity. Its an american peasents tradition.

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  • darbullah
    Oct 16, 2013 - 1:48AM

    My salute to the polish people.

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  • 1984
    Oct 16, 2013 - 1:51AM

    @Syed Arbab Ahmed:
    Noone said its wrong not to eat meat….But Europeans have objections over the halal type of slaughter where the neck of the animal is cut and the animal is allowed to die slowly gushing out blood from its neck….

    I know it was done 1400 years back in Arabia because there was no deep freezing options to preserve meat and a meat without blood was more hygenic

    Its not saying its right,but their country their rules….A German cannot have an Oktoberfest Beer bash in Pakistan as he needs to adhere to local customs

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  • jamshed kharian-pak
    Oct 16, 2013 - 2:29AM

    the Major Halal meat exporter countries are all None Muslims and of course Polish are not more Catholic then French!

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  • Oct 16, 2013 - 3:47AM

    Anyway the polish peopl
    e dont eat meat?

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  • Muhammad Azhar
    Oct 16, 2013 - 5:16AM

    This is rubbish and against the human rights. Human being is the best creature on the earth. Human has brain that can think, against an animal that has a retarded brain and technically stunned already. This legislation is also a baiaed act against religious freedom and formulized to apease certain mind set community that has no proper religion. This act will not bring any calm to the society but anarchy and anger. This is rediculous and no brainer to prefer an animal over a human being for so called rights. Tis act is totally condemnable and sjould be repealed from the legislation.

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  • Raj
    Oct 16, 2013 - 5:36AM

    Syed Arbab Sahib,

    Turkey, the bird, is native to America, and has nothing to do with Poland.

    Americans consume turkey on a non-religious national holiday called Thanksgiving. And it is not “slaughtered”. Most people buy the frozen, nicely-packed ready-to-bake packages!

    Please do Google or Wikipedia an item before commenting on it. Never hurts. And you might come out to be more erudite than you actually are! Just like me!

    Cheers!

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  • Parvez Amin
    Oct 16, 2013 - 6:28AM

    It seems that the Polish law has not been understood. ‘Stun’ means to render unconscious by a blow. The animal may then be slaughtered. It appears the intent is to spare the animal from pain. What is wrong with that? To me the law seems humane and should be adopted in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Siddhu
    Oct 16, 2013 - 8:37AM

    Pakistanis have no right to complain about rights of Muslims in other countries when, they treat their minorities worse than animals.

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  • LaLakiMKaa
    Oct 16, 2013 - 9:30AM

    They have banned jewish slaughter also..I think all kind of slaughter should stop…..eating animals is coward…good thing is if pakistanis present themselves to animals then they would know how much it hurts…..

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  • Zia Mian
    Oct 16, 2013 - 11:58AM

    @LalakiMKaa
    So far I have only seen Spanish are doing it during bull fight to present themselves and i have seen the pictures…boy it hurts!

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  • Humayun
    Oct 16, 2013 - 12:09PM

    Unfortunate discrimanation…Law vs Faith ?

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  • darbullah
    Oct 16, 2013 - 12:57PM

    @Muhammad Azhar:
    Looking at the news from your country,I beg to differ as the humans there don’t seem to think .

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  • Sunny in Philadelphia
    Oct 16, 2013 - 1:17PM

    @Humayun,
    Dear sir, ain’t Law vs Faith. Its Laws for a civilized, progressive humanity vs certain aspects of Faith. Forgive me if my observation hurt someone, wasn’t deliberate & apologies in advance.
    Its common, skewed understanding that humans are one of a kind (emotions, thoughts, sense of physical pain etc. per se) and animals have none of it hence are wajib-ul-qatal/fit to kill & consume. So do these animals not recognize its parent, share a bond with its surrounding environment? For all we know, they communicate amongst themselves just like we do.
    I am a pure vegetarian since birth and have just one condition if ever I have to/am forced to switch to non-vegetarian diet : If its meat I have to consume, might as well be human. Its all meat anyways, right?

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  • AR
    Oct 16, 2013 - 1:53PM

    BUT BUT Poland is full of poor Jews also those polish soldiers were sent by NATO to kill Muslims in Afghanistan. Hope Hazarat AlQaeda is listening

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  • Adhitya
    Oct 16, 2013 - 3:04PM

    Wish I could keep up my resolution to stop eating Poultry and Fish. I have done it for long periods but eventually pick up the habit again. Meat eating is just not modern and cutting edge, in this day and age……..we should all leave these traditions of human civilization to the Arabs! God have mercy on them on Judgement day!

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  • Khan
    Oct 16, 2013 - 4:06PM

    @unbeliveable. For your information to get a burger u need meat and to get a burger you need to slaughter an animal. The way it’s done is still slaughtering. So if you don’t like meat stick to geneticly modified vegetables. By the way Indian meat is good but not as good as pakistan along with our rice and mangos . Pakistan zindabad

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  • genesis
    Oct 16, 2013 - 5:51PM

    @Muhammad Azhar:
    It is all very nice to talk abut Poland or other nations on human rights.will you permit slaughter of Pigs and grant them freedom of their faith and belief?You do not even allow people of other faith to bury their dead.

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  • 1984
    Oct 16, 2013 - 5:53PM

    @Muhammad Azhar:
    Human being is the best creature on the earth. Human has brain that can think, against an animal

    The more I see humans,the more I love my dog…….

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  • manish rohera
    Oct 16, 2013 - 5:56PM

    No god needs any sacrifice of lives he only need sacrifices of your evils I hope humanity evolves and stops such primitive customs

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  • vasan
    Oct 16, 2013 - 6:03PM

    Will Poland see shutter down strikes, tyre burning etc now. Will Hafiz Sayid start ranting about Poland. Will any fatwa be passed against Poland ? I am just curious

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  • Talat Haque
    Oct 16, 2013 - 7:12PM

    Ha ha ha – Indian meat and Pakistani meat ……. soon we will have Indian air and Pakistani air ………….. then there will be the salt in Indian Ocean and the salt in Pakistani seas !!!!! ——— does not anyone realize its the same earth everywhere …………… and human beings are built of the same DNA and have the same blood groups …………….. why this dance of death over what anyone believes …………… every one’s beliefs are also equally sacred …………. they are ideas held in our hearts and minds …………. humanity should grow up !

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  • Kevin
    Oct 16, 2013 - 8:22PM

    Very goof, Hope rest of the muslim countries evolve too.

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  • BlackJack
    Oct 16, 2013 - 8:59PM

    @Khan:
    For your information to get a burger u need meat and to get a burger you need to slaughter an animal.
    No one disagrees that to get a meat burger you need meat. The question is whether the animal that died to feed you needs to die painfully as well. Poland doesn’t feel so, while many of your compatriots apparently do.

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  • taz
    Oct 16, 2013 - 10:15PM

    this is absured, so now animal rights are above human ones? and no one knows experience of death, so how can they be so certain that the animal doznt feel death after stunning? next will be ban hijab and minarets..

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  • Oct 17, 2013 - 12:49AM

    @ashar:
    @FromPoland:

    A person whose priorities’ are warped shamelessly and hypocritically favouring criminal un-Islamic Taliban ideologues’ (who have exited the fold of Islam let alone the hereafter with their twisted morals) violent actions is the least qualified to pass any sort of advice, judgement or ignorantly question a peaceful Muslim from Poland.

    Someone who clearly understands the sanctity and value of life, and clearly the hereafter, despite difficulty which he/she correctly puts into perspective civilly, looks past such setback gratefully, wishing us all well and Eid mubarak. Have the sense and courtesy to acknowledge it.

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  • Alex
    Oct 17, 2013 - 1:43AM

    Slaughter will always be killing. But then there is a way in making it less painful, less stressfull and giving the animals some basic rights, or kill them without any stunns or any additional method just cut their throat. Im for banning it in Poland and I hope they will ban it in my home country sweden aswell. @Syed Arbab Ahmed:

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  • Observer
    Oct 17, 2013 - 1:49AM

    @Syed Arbab Ahmed:

    “Do they don’t have Burgers? Don’t they slaughter Turkey on their Christian occasions, it is biased attitude.”

    While I agree with you that it doesn’t make any difference for the poor animals whether they are butchered for food or as sacrifice, there is a fundamental difference that you seem to miss.

    While killing a poor defenseless animal and eating is barbaric enough, it takes it to another level of cruelty level when an animal is butchered in the name of god to please god. Don’t you see? Can a compassionate god be blood thirsty?

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  • angela
    Oct 17, 2013 - 5:41AM

    Just go vegan and all this cruelty WILL stop! Idiots.

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  • Muslim Leaguer
    Oct 17, 2013 - 8:31AM

    The Polish Government is exposing its biasedness…..
    Perhaps it has been hijacked!!

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  • Virkaul
    Oct 17, 2013 - 9:06AM

    @FromPoland: This ancient outdated barbaric custom must be discontinued now. Let us maintain a civilized society.

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  • Oct 17, 2013 - 11:05AM

    @Siddhu: Agreed. Fine. And how does India treat its minorities? Of course, where we are concerned, morality is only focused our way. By the way, you do have binocular vision to give you a stereoscopic effect? Don’t you? Salams and have a nice day.

    @1984: Open your mind and talk to a scholar. Yes…….the public display in non-Muslim countries can be stopped and the sacrifice can be made in an abattoir. The unhygienic conditions after the sacrifice that are created are wrong. Citizens must abide by cleanliness standards and local authorities must issue instructions thereto. Salams

    @Zia Mian: America is a Christian majority country with many avenues of morality. Salams

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  • Gurion
    Oct 17, 2013 - 4:58PM

    Consuming animal meat is a human right. Torturing an animal to death based on stone age rituals isn’t.

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  • bangash
    Oct 17, 2013 - 6:15PM

    This is a violation of religious freedom under flimsy pretence of animal rights. Polish slaughter animals and eat meat so why are they objecting to Muslims and Jews slaughtering animals ?

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  • 1984
    Oct 17, 2013 - 6:33PM

    @the Skunk:
    You dont understand what I wanted to convey….

    The Western countries are not objecting the public display,but they are opposing the way of slaughter….

    Nowadays,almost all farms use stun gun because they want to kill the animal in the most painless way…But this kosher or halal method demands the animals neck to be partially cut and for few minutes,the animal slowly dies gasping for air and blood rushing out

    Many people view this as a form of torture to animals…

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  • I am a Khan
    Oct 17, 2013 - 7:16PM

    Its mere Islamophobia and nothing else. by the way- stunning an animal ie giving it an electric shock to such an extent that it suffers brain concussion and loses conciousness is far more cruel to the animal, than gently sliting its throat with a sharp knife.

    Try it on yourself, give yourself a medium electric shock and then on a separate ocassion slit your throat slightly with a razor while shaving. The electric shock is much more painful even though you do not lose any blood. conversely the razor cut while shaving is not so painful even though you bleed. The halal method of slaughter is actually less painful to the animal and the meat is healthy for the human to consume as it is blood free. The divine commandments benefit all creation.

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  • csmann
    Oct 17, 2013 - 8:08PM

    Please comment on this, people who are so much for tolerance and equality in other countries.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/619038/no-qurbani-for-you-police-stop-ahmadis-from-ritual-sacrificing-in-lahore/

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  • I am a Khan
    Oct 17, 2013 - 9:01PM

    Electric shock (Stunning) to an extent that causes brain concussion and loss of conciousness of the animal is far more painful to the animal than halal slaughter. If you dont believe, remember a time when you got an electric shock (if ever) and remember a time you cut your finger with the kitchen knife or cut your throat while shaving. which was more painful/devastating, the cut or the electric shock? Among all ways of killing an animal, slaughter is the least painful to it, because when the throat is slit, least pain is felt. remember how many times men cut their throat while shaving and rarely feel any pain, despite the bleeding.

    This is not about love for animals its about hating the Divine religion.

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  • kumar
    Oct 17, 2013 - 11:22PM

    in pakistan ahmediyyas are banned to do eid sacrifice……

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  • Indian Muslim
    Oct 17, 2013 - 11:26PM

    **All Please read the following:
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/619038/no-qurbani-for-you-police-stop-ahmadis-from-ritual-sacrificing-in-lahore/

    Then comment on this news.

    ET: Please publish this to avoid one sided comments.**

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  • Real World
    Oct 18, 2013 - 8:59PM

    @I am a Khan:

    Electric shock (Stunning) to an extent
    that causes brain concussion and loss
    of conciousness of the animal is far
    more painful to the animal than halal
    slaughter. If you dont believe,
    remember a time when you got an
    electric shock (if ever) and remember
    a time you cut your finger with the
    kitchen knife or cut your throat while
    shaving. which was more
    painful/devastating, the cut or the
    electric shock?

    This is the crazyest thing that I have read. You are saying that stunning the animal and killing it in an instance is more painful than slitting its throat and letting it bleed (obviously with pain since its conscious the whole time) to death. If you believe that then you are beyond redemption I am afraid. No one is stopping people from eating meat. They are stopping people from what in their society is considered to be torturing an animal.

    Its quite sad people defending this custom. The whole point is the celebration/meal with the family, friends, community etc and start off a new part of the year. Obviously people who have taken the decision to stun the animal thought about it abit more (also advantaged with the scientic knowledge we have now) than the old custom of halal. 1400 years of development is testament to this fact. We had minimal understanding of animal husbandary, zoological knowledge and preservation techniques, fridges etc. etc. when Halal was created. Lets live in the 21tst century.

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  • Oct 22, 2013 - 3:30AM

    The government is retatded, because a century ago in Christian tradition, they meat that they ate was not stunned prior to slaughter. It goes to show that their beliefs are evet changing. Who knows in 100 years their government might ban vegetables too for one readon or another.

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