Jewish quarter in Antwerp, Belgium
Jewish quarter in Antwerp, BelgiumFlash 90

Following the European Court of Human Rights' decision to uphold the ban on ritual slaughter in the Flemish and Walloon Regions of Belgium, Maram Stern, executive vice president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), expressed profound dismay on Wednesday, emphasizing the detrimental effects of this ruling on religious freedoms for Jewish and Muslim communities across Europe.

"The court’s ill-advised decision that perpetuates discrimination against Belgian Jews and Muslims is deplorable. This ruling is a backward step, not a matter of animal welfare, but a clear suppression of religious freedom and liberty. We cannot stand idly by as instances of religious persecution unfold," said Stern.

Highlighting the broader implications of this decision, Stern added, "The prohibition of religious slaughter without prior stunning places an undue burden on our communities, striking at the very heart of religious freedom guaranteed under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This comes at a time when antisemitism and hatred are on the rise, making the protection of our fundamental freedoms all the more critical."

WJC further called on European governments to recognize the seriousness of this ruling and to enact legislation that upholds the fundamental rights to freedom of religion and the significance of ritual slaughter in Jewish and Muslim religious practice within their respective countries.

"It is imperative for governing bodies to prevent actions that compromise the right to worship freely, rather than imposing restrictions that further marginalize religious communities,” said Stern.