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State Dept.: Ritual slaughter ‘important’ to Jewish, Muslim observance

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. State Department regards ritual slaughter as an “important aspect” of Jewish and Muslim religious observance, a spokesman said when asked about Poland’s ban of the practice.

The spokesman, responding to a question from JTA, emphasized that the Polish government should be the primary address for queries about the ban upheld in a parliamentary vote on July 12.

However, the spokesman, who spoke Wednesday on background, noted, “In the United States, the law protects ritual slaughter as a form of religious freedom. Ritual slaughter is an important aspect of practice for Jews and Muslims who adhere to kosher and halal dietary laws.”

The vote last week has concerned Polish Jewish leaders, who say the debate was fraught with stereotyping of Jews.

It also has reverberated outside the country because Poland’s kosher slaughter industry was a major supplier to Jewish communities throughout Europe.

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