German Parliament defends pork ban in public menus so as not to offend Muslims

Sausages are cooked inside a German cafeteria prior to the pork ban imposed by the German government to cater to Muslim sensibilities.Reuters

The German Parliament is defending a government move to ban pork in public menus, rejecting a proposal that would have allowed pork to remain in the menu of public cafeteria as well as schools and kindergartens.

According to the English language German news site The Local, the mandatory menu inclusion legislation was drafted in response to the removal of pork dishes in public cafeterias and schools on the ground that pork is offensive to Muslims.

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) lawmakers in Schleswig-Holstein who supported the proposal said all pork products had been removed from schools and other places where food was served to prevent problems with the Muslim community, the Daily Mail reported.

The CDU, the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, claimed the pork ban was enacted in the northern region of the country for "religious reasons.''

However, Daniel Guenther, the CDU's parliamentary leader, said "the protection of minorities—including for religious reasons—must not mean that the majority is overruled in their free decision by ill-conceived consideration.''

"The consumption of pork belongs to our culture; no one should be obliged to do so, but we also don't want the majority having to refrain from pork,'' he added.

Germany is known for its sausages, which are usually served alongside monster-sized steins of beer during Oktoberfest in Munich.

According to Guenther, at least one daycare centre in every voting precinct in Schleswig-Hostein had stopped serving pork for religious reasons. The mandatory pork proposal at "state canteens'' and schools was ultimately rejected by local public officials in Schleswig-Holstein.

Many in opposing parties, however, reportedly mocked the measure.

Social Democratic Party deputy leader Ralf Stegner posted on Twitter: Vegetarians, vegans and Muslims are in a Holy Trinity: taking over power in Schleswig-Hostein canteens."

Others on social media have also ridiculed the move to keep pork off the menu in all public facilities in Germany. Those who feel the measure is laughable, or at least unwarranted, created several viral hashtags to push their message #porkduty and #wurstcasescenario, Fox News reported.

Meanwhile, Schleswig-Holstein State Agriculture Minister Robert Habeck said that he does not see a reason for the government to become involved in the pork controversy. "I don't share the idea of abrogating our constitutional rights in favour of the duty to eat chops or minces."