Target: French Ministry of National Education
Goal: Provide non-pork alternatives to Jewish and Muslim pupils in French schools
At a school in southwest France, students will no longer be given an alternative meat option when pork is on the school’s menu. Many of the students at the school are observant Jews and Muslims who abstain from eating pork, leaving them with no meat option available.
The school had previously offered non-pork alternatives on the days when pork was served to accomodate these students, but citing cutting costs and waste, the school has now begun telling its students that they must either eat the pork or eat no meat at all. Parents of the Jewish and Muslim students have responded with outrage. They have said they did not even ask for halal and kosher meat, only that non-pork be served as an alternative. But the school has standardized its meals.
France has a long tradition of public “secularism” in which public displays of religious belief are either looked down upon or outright banned. The widely publicized “burka ban” was one such example. In recent times, manifestations of this “secularism” have taken the form of restrictions on practicing Muslims, a marginalized population in France.
The discontinuation of non-pork meat alternatives at this French school, whatever the practical rationale, represents another instance of religious discrimination against religious minorities – Jews and Muslims. France should be respectful of its religious minorities and religious diversity. Secularism may be an important characteristic of public life in France, but religious belief must not be infringed, especially not minority religions.
Sign the petition below to demand that the French educational ministry re-instate non-pork meat options at this school in southwestern France in the name of respect for religious diversity.
Dear Ministry of National Education,
It has come to my attention that students at a school in Arveyres will no longer be offered a non-pork meat alternative when pork is served at the school. This will leave Muslim and Jewish pupils with no viable meat alternative, since they are restricted from eating pork. Parents of these children have protested the move but the school said it is making the change to cut down on waste.
Be that as it may, failing to provide dietary alternatives for religious minorities demonstrates a worrying lack of respect for religious diversity at the school and in France in general. I ask that you reinstate the alternative menu at the school so that observant Jewish and Muslim students will have an alternative to pork.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kham Tran via Wikimedia