We, the Muslim-Jewish Leadership Council – Europe, are deeply concerned about the ban of kosher and halal slaughter practices by the judgement of the Hellenic Council of the State Δ 1751/2021. The judgment annuls the Joint Ministerial Decision of 2017 which made an exemption for religious food preparation in the law that prevented slaughter without anaesthetic.
The Muslim-Jewish Leadership Council- Europe seeks to promote positive Muslim-Jewish relations and to advocate for the rights of Muslim and Jewish religious minorities in Europe. We maintain that there can be no fair and coherent freedom of religion in Europe, or true multiculturalism, if religious minorities cannot fully practise their faiths. The ban of kosher and halal preparation of meat for both Muslim and Jewish communities in Greece cuts deeply into their rights and sharply contradicts messages from European governments that they are committed to a future for Muslims and Jews as equal citizens and residents in Europe. This judgement prevents Muslims and Jews living freely in Greece and at the same time lawfully observing some of the most ancient and central traditions of their faiths, to which animal welfare happens to be crucial. Such religious practices have a fundamental place in the spiritual and cultural identity and daily life of Muslims and Jews in Europe, perhaps more so than is the case for the majority of Europeans. Thus a change in the law such as judgement 1751/2021 is not just an inconvenience placed upon one segment of the Greek population; this judgement prevents Muslims and Jews in Greece from being equal and respected members of Greek society.
The MJLC calls upon Greek authorities to work closely with the Muslim and Jewish authorities in their country to review the legislation and its effects upon the rights of religious minorities in Greece to find a solution which is acceptable to all parties. We urge Greek lawmakers to include representatives of religious communities in decision-making which will affect their right to practice their faiths freely, to ensure that it is sufficiently protected. And we call upon the Greek government to feel the weight of its responsibility to safeguard the wellbeing of all Greeks and those in Greece for the sake of ensuring a diverse yet peaceful, cohesive and thriving society.