French Mayor: ‘It’s pork or nothing’

French Mayor: ‘It’s pork or nothing’

Marcel Mortreau, inset above, is the Mayor of a small town in the south of France  – and right now he is at the centre of a storm after refusing to provide halal meals for Muslim kids at the local school. He is reported as saying:

It’s pork or nothing.

The Mayor’s stance means that from January 1, 2015, pupils in the little town of Sargé-lès-Le Mans in the Sarthe department of north-western France will not be offered a substitute meal if they don’t eat pork.

This will affect the 15 Muslim pupils in the school. Eating pork is also against the rules of the Jewish religion but it is not believed there are any Jewish pupils at the school.

Mortreau says his decision is based on the “principle of Republican neutrality”.

The mayor is not required to provide meals that respond to religious requirements. This is the principle of secularism.

The Town Hall has also backed its decision on the grounds of logistics claiming its new school meals provider had complained about the extra workload that comes with providing alternative meals when pork is on the menu.

The mayor bowed to their complaints even though providing a second meal costs no extra money, according to France Bleu radio.

Muslim parents and pupils have reacted angrily to Mortreau’s decision.

One pupil named Tarik huffed:

Eating two starters is not the same as eating a meat dish. Meat is something the body needs to work and to think. I need meat, it’s important.

His mother Yasmine was also upset.

Telling a small child that ‘you will eat less today because there’s pork on the menu’ is difficult to comprehend. You feel it is discrimination. You hear comments like, ‘if you don’t like it, take your children home’. It hurts.

It’s not the first time the issue of having substitute meals for Muslim and Jewish pupils has been at the centre of controversy in France.

In April this year far-right leader Marine Le Pen said schools in towns run by National Front mayors would no longer serve alternative meat dishes to pork.

We will accept no religious requirements in the school lunch menus. There is no reason for religion to enter into the public sphere.

In March 2013 the school in the village of Arveyres in the Gironde region of south-west France stopped offering an alternative meal for children who did not eat pork.  The decision affected around 30 of  180 pupils.

21 responses to “French Mayor: ‘It’s pork or nothing’”

  1. Rob Andrews says:

    Good for these mayors.. This is CLEARLY a cultural take over. It’s funny that muslims are settling in small towns in America also. This is because even a small numbers of outsiders gives them at least a sizeable minority, in a small town.

    I used to ridicule the people who were afraid of ‘the red menace’,–communism. But this is scarry.They will take over small town by small town. I don’t think i’m paranoid.

    “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything”. Good for these mayors!!

  2. gedediah says:

    I’m a veggie and, as long as there’s enough non meat items in the meal on offer so that I’m not left hungry, I’m happy. Its my choice, why should they have to make special arrangements just for me? Why can’t the religious have the same attitude?

  3. Angela_K says:

    We had no choice for my primary school lunches in the 1960’s and we had teachers who would make certain you ate everything on your plate whether you liked it or not; it made a generation of eaters who were not fussy. I can’t see how this is any different.

  4. David Anderson says:

    This is a bit confusing. Does the report mean that there are two towns are not offering a substitute meals as the Sarthe department is in the north of France, about 5km. from Le Mans.

    “Meat is something the body needs to work and to think. I need meat, it’s important.” No Tarik, you need a brain unaffected by religious bullshit.

  5. David Anderson says:

    Also wot Angela_K said.

  6. Broga says:

    This refusal to provide meat from animals who have had their throats cut and bled to death is excellent. Not much hope, I suppose, of a similar humane stand from our politicians?

  7. Rob Andrews says:

    @David Andreson:

    Right…Sounds like mayor Mortreau is joining with another town in south of france, in the Goironde region, in refusing hilal meals.

    The bottom paragraph states this happened in 2013. The Montreau thing is for 2015

  8. Trevor Blake says:

    Halal food? That needs a halal food certifier. Kosher food? That needs a kosher food certifier. Sounds like good money to me. I announce my services as a psychic food certifier. I can certify any meal as having spiritual value from any distance for only 1/10th of the cost of that meal. Please don’t hurt my feelings by refusing to hire me. My beliefs are sincere and traditional. Won’t someone think of the children?

  9. clive says:

    What’s wrong with choice ? Let them eat halal, or kosher, food if that is what they want. As long as the rest of us are not forced to eat their food.

    But, I have been involved in anti-nuclear ‘peace camps’, where vegans also, usually, take over the food scene and impose their unhealthy diet on everyone else (often in coalition with buddhists). They pass all sorts of authoritarian ‘rules’ banning meat from the camps, in case a vegan 500 yards downwind of someone frying sausages might inhale a meaty molecule. This forces all of the rest of us to live on a diet of lentils and rice for the duration. To make it worse, some of the ‘peace camps’ are in fairly remote places where there are nuclear bases. So, the only alternative place to get a decent meal is often the nearest pub. So they then pass ‘rules’ to ban us from going to the pub because alcohol drinking is also banned.

    It’s quite simple really. Anyone should be allowed to eat whatever they want.

  10. Cali Ron says:

    As a child I ate whatever was on the plate at school or packed a sack lunch (well actually my mom did it). Are muslim mothers incapable of making a halal sandwich for their kids lunch. If they don’t like what’s on the menu and won’t make their own then I guess they will just have to have a “wish” sandwich-wish I had some meat between these pieces of bread.

  11. Angela_K says:

    @Clive. Fascism, totalitarianism and intolerance exists in many forms such as among the vegans whose faux piety is as revolting as the religious.

  12. Brummie says:

    Schools around me in the UK have no choice. They ONLY serve Halal meat, regardless of religion. This, to my knowledge, is not made clear to parents.

  13. Barry Duke says:

    Speaking of halal slaughter, when I was living in South Africa decades ago a story broke about a poultry farmer who lost his accreditation to supply the Muslim market. Once a week he had an imam call round to chants prayers on a tannoy system while the chickens had their throats cuts.

    The farmer, believing he was being screwed over the imam’s fees, decided to record the idiotic mumbo-jumbo, dispensed with the Muslim’s services and loudly played the recording on religious slaughter days.

    Naturally, he was quickly rumbled, all hell broke loose, and death threats followed.

  14. barriejohn says:

    Barry: The old question arises, are recordings or broadcasts of religious services, etc, “sacred”? This argument rumbles on and on: if a priest pronounces a blessing on television, are all viewers “blessed”, or only those present? As I have said before, the objection to the televising of the coronation ceremony, from the CofE hierarchy, was that men would watch it wearing hats and women without a head covering. Totally beyond belief!

  15. Stephen Turner says:

    @barriejohn: it’s very simple. You see, it’s sacred only for bareheaded male viewers and non-bareheaded female viewers.

    And of course, there aren’t any “Muslim pupils”. There are only kids whose parents are Muslims.

  16. Marky Mark says:

    I forgot…why can’t these people eat pork in the first place? Is it because pigs are considered a dirty animal?

  17. Robster says:

    There’s an easy answer to this “issue”. Call the pork bits “beeph” or something equally attractive. These religious people spend their lives playing Let’s Pretend, here’s just one more thing to pretend about.

  18. Paul Cook says:

    @marky mark

    No one can explain why pigs are not eaten.
    The mass of archeology in jooland found that of all the hill top joosettlements only one, of the many hundreds searched, yes just one, didn’t have pigs bones in the waste. But there is no reason why the directive followed.

    They shouldn’t be eating other animals either – but of course they do.

  19. Marky Mark says:

    @ Paul Cook
    So would this mean that the odds are the holy bable was created from this one settlement without the pig bones??

  20. Paul Cook says:

    No I don’t think so As it was created in Greece.
    Where they did eat pork.

  21. Maggie says:

    @ Paul Cook
    My theory (and it is my very own) as to why Jews, and Muslims who copied the habit, do not eat the flesh of pigs is simply because they didn’t know about bacon.

    As for the school… “All will be treated the same.” “Woah there buddy. We’re special. You must discriminate against us.. no wait…”