Ronald S. Lauder, who leads the World Jewish Congress, applauded the support given to the Jewish community of Poland by the conference of Catholic bishops of that country. Speaking on September 30, Lauder said that the support is “especially significant and warmly welcome,” with regard to the bishops' opposition to a proposal in Poland to ban religious slaughter. “We appreciate this statement, and we hope that it will lead Polish legislators to revert the wrong decision they took in July,” Lauder declared. He thanked the Catholic Church leaders for speaking out on the issue. 
 
On September 25, a statement released by the Polish bishops declared “that throughout our long history Polish legislation never questioned the right to religious freedom, including the right to maintain one’s own traditions and customs.” The bishops criticized a “lack of consistency of legislators with respect to two conflicting laws, the law on the protection of animals on the one hand and the law governing the relationship between the Polish state and Jewish communities on the other hand." This same problem was singled out by the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland, which has appealed to Poland's high court over the ban on kosher (Jewish) and halal (Moslem) slaughter.
 
The bishops' statement that as a body the bishops share “the view that Jewish religious communities and believers of Islam are entitled to preserve and implement their fundamental rights to freedom of religion and worship. It is their right to preserve their customs, including the ritual slaughter of animals.”
 
At a meeting with Pope Francis in Rome earlier this month, the WJC leadership had raised the religious slaughter ban in Poland and asked the pontiff to speak out against it. The pope expressed concern about the ban and promised the Vatican would look into the matter.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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