Religion

Danish Town's Meat Policy Sparks Controversy In Muslim Community

| by Jimmy King
Traditional Danish Meal.Traditional Danish Meal.

A town in Denmark now legally requires municipal restaurants to offer pork on their menus. The move comes amid opposition to “Muslim-friendly” menus that omitted pork, which devout followers of Islam do not eat.

Controversy surrounding pork availability in Denmark started when former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt spoke out against kindergartens that stopped serving pork in 2013, reports The Guardian.

Supporters of the regulation in Randers, Denmark, have said that the requirement seeks to protect Danish cultural heritage, reports the Daily Mail.

“We will ensure that Danish children and youth can have pork in the future,” said Randers town councilor Frank Norgaard.

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The anti-immigration Danish People’s Party has also voiced its support for the pork requirement.

“The DPP is working nationally and locally for Danish culture, including Danish food culture, and consequently we also fight against Islamic rules and misguided considerations dictating what Danish children eat,” DPP spokesman Martin Henriksen wrote in a social media post.

Pork is a staple of Danish culinary heritage. Roughly 13 million pigs live in Denmark and 5 percent of the nation’s exports are pig-based, reports The Guardian.

Opponents of the pork regulations say the move is an attempt to inflame anti-immigrant sentiments. 

“What do children need? Do they need pork? Actually not. But the Danish People’s Party does,” commented Charlotte Molbaek, a Socialist People’s Party member, reports The New York Times.

Social Democrat Fatma Cetinkaya criticized the new pig-meat requirements adopted by Randers.

“Randers has always been at the forefront when it comes to integration. We don’t have problems with crime and a lot of other things, so it’s incomprehensible that pork has been made into a problem. It’s such a shame.”

The regulations come amid controversy surrounding Denmark’s attempts to cope with an influx of immigrants and refugees.

Denmark is on the verge of requiring refugees to forfeit their valuables to pay for housing and state services.

In January, Denmark instituted identity check measures on its German border to manage the large numbers of migrants who pass across the border.

Sources: The Guardian, Daily Mail, The New York Times / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons