Belgian Jewish Community Files Lawsuit Challenging Ban on Kosher Slaughter

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Press Release – For Immediate Release
November 29, 2017

Media Contact
Nathan Miller or Ilana Blum
(310) 571-8264
Nathan@miller-ink.com or Ilana@miller-ink.com

Brought to Belgium’s Constitutional Court by the Belgian Federation of Jewish Organizations (CCOJB) and supported by The Lawfare Project, the appeal challenges law passed by Walloon Parliament in May

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM—The Belgian Jewish Community has filed a lawsuit challenging a law passed in May by the parliament of the Walloon region banning the kosher slaughter of animals. The lawsuit was submitted today by the Belgian Federation of Jewish Organizations (CCOJB), the representative body of Belgian Jews. The lawsuit is being supported by The Lawfare Project, a legal think tank and civil rights litigation fund that files legal cases protecting against anti-Semitic discrimination around the world.

The Parliaments of both the Wallonia and Flanders regions, the two largest in Belgium, passed laws earlier this year designed to outlaw religious slaughter, which includes kosher and halal slaughter. In May, the Wallonia parliament voted unanimously to ban the traditional methods of religious slaughter. The parliament in Flanders, where half of Belgium’s Jews live and where the majority of Belgium’s kosher facilities provide meat for Jewish communities in Belgium and beyond, followed suit in July. CCOJB and The Lawfare Project may file a similar lawsuit against the Flanders legislation early in 2018.

If the legislation is not annulled prior to coming into force in 2019 it could undermine the ability of minority faith communities to practice central tenets of their religions in Belgium. The lawsuit argues that the legislation further  violates harmonized EU law on this issue, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Belgian Constitution itself, all of which guarantee freedom of religion.

Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, which is supporting the lawsuit, said:

“This case challenges the law on the basis that it curtails religious freedom.”

Yohan Benizri, President of the Belgian Federation of Jewish Organizations (CCOJB), which submitted the appeal, said:

“The lawsuit states that a ban on kosher meat production is a violation of the rule of law and of the freedom of religion of Article 10 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.”

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