ORTHODOX UNION COMMENDS DUTCH SENATE WITHDRAWAL OF SHECHITA BAN PROPOSAL
Today the Orthodox Union -- the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization -- commended the withdrawal of the bill to ban Shechita (ritual slaughter) in the Netherlands. After much discussion surrounding the proposed ban, the legislation was withdrawn due to senators’ concern for religious liberties. In June, the bill passed the lower house of the Dutch Legislature with the support of the animal rights and the far-right parties, yielding great concern for the OU and broader Jewish community.
The Orthodox Union has been engaged in a variety of efforts over the past months to address this legislative initiative. Last week, the Orthodox Union, through its Institute for Public Affairs | Jewish Political Action, spearheaded a bipartisan letter from the U.S. House of Representatives to the Dutch Legislature expressing concern over the pending legislation, citing international legal precedents to safeguard religious liberties. The leaders of the letter were the chairs of the International Religious Freedom Caucus – Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), and signators included House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-CA).
In leading the Congressional letter, Rep. Franks stated his concern that, “A ban on the traditionally acceptable means of preparing both kosher and halal foods would represent a fundamental infringement of the rights of both Jews and Muslims living in the Netherlands.”
Rep. Shuler added that, “In this instance, we are advocating for the faithful to do something as simple as have access to religiously acceptable food. When religious ignorance or intolerance begins to impede on the ability of others to sustain themselves, we have a moral duty to become involved.”
The letter is accessible here: http://advocacy.ou.org/2011/orthodox-union-spearheads-bipartisan-letter-to-dutch-legislature-asserting-importance-of-religious-liberties/#.Tujcd1b_84k
OU/IPA Executive Director for Public Policy, Nathan Diament, said, “We commend the Dutch leaders for withdrawing the worrisome legislation. We are grateful for the recognition that the legislation imperiled religious freedom and Jewish practice. We are pleased religious freedom has prevailed.”
OU/IPA Director of Political Affairs, Maury Litwack, said, “The Orthodox Union is most grateful for the support our community and this cause received from Members of Congress. Their engagement obviously helped influence their Dutch counterparts to withdraw the legislation and for that, we thank each of them.”
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