WARSAW - Being failed by the government twice, Polish Muslims and Jews expressed anger over a parliament vote rejecting to repeal an earlier ban on halal and kosher slaughter by the European country's constitutional court.
This is not only a slap for us, but above all for the Polish constitution, which should guarantee religious rites of all its citizens, Chief Mufti of Poland Tomasz Miskiewicz, leader of Poland's Muslim Association, said in a statement on behalf of the country's Muslim community cited by Polskie Radio (Polish Radio) on Tuesday, July 16.
This is not democracy, it undermines the principles of respect and tolerance, prompting nationalistic and racist results, deepening divisions, and opening wounds that had healed.
The mufti's angry comments followed uproar after Poland's parliament voted last Friday to reject the ritual slaughter of livestock for food.
Ritual slaughter has been banned in Poland since January 1 after a Constitutional Court deemed it incompatible with animal rights law.
Friday's vote struck down a government bill suggested last December reinstating the practice to calm angry Muslim and Jewish minorities.
Lawmakers rejected the bill with a vote of 222 against, 178 in favor and nine abstentions.
The ban was imposed by the Constitutional Court that ruled against the practice in November 2012, after animal rights groups protested that the slaughter contradicted Polish laws on animal welfare.
The Constitutional Tribunal said it was against Polish law to allow animals to have their throats cut and bleed to death without first being stunned.
The vote has angered the Muslim and Jewish minorities as well as farmers and exporters of meat.
Poland's Chief Rabbi Michal Schudrich has already threatened to step down over the issue.
"It directly infringes on the basic rights of the country's Jewish and Muslim populations, which will henceforth be forced to either buy more expensive imported meat, or endorse an enforced vegetarianism," he said.
"It is impossible not to note that Polish legislation does not ban practices such as hunting in which animals are being made to suffer for pleasure," he added.
Feeling the heat of Muslim and Jewish anger, the Polish government has promised to reinstate kosher and halal slaughter methods.
Now the right belongs to the religious minorities which, in accordance with the constitution, have the right to submit a complaint for non-compliance with the constitution, Stanislaw Kalemba, the minister of agriculture, said.
My mind is clear. In order to preserve traditions, customs, culture this law [rejected on Friday] should be adopted, allowing for slaughter as part of these rites.
According to the Islamic and Jewish ritual, the animal is slaughtered by a sharp blade.
The concept of halal, -- meaning permissible in Arabic -- has traditionally been applied to food.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.
Muslim scholars agree that Shari`ah provides a divine law of mercy that should be applied on all Allah's creations, including animals.
Islam also provides details about avoiding any unnecessary pain.
Poland has about 6,000 Jews and 25,000 Muslims, according to the European Jewish Congress and US State Department estimates.
The decision is also bad news to Poland's export industry.
Poland has 29 slaughterhouses which practice ritual slaughter, employing 4,000 people. The industry is worth $259 million in exports.