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Alternative meals for religion and not against secularism: a French court

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A French court ruled Thursday that offering alternative meals to students who cannot eat pork for religious reasons does not contradict secular principles.

In June 2018, the town council of Boquer banned substitute meals for pork in schools, saying it went against the secular principles of the French nation.

The Muslim and Jewish communities appealed the decision, and human rights groups filed a complaint.

The Administrative Court of Nîmes blocked the far-right municipality’s decision in February 2021.

Boquer Mayor Julian Sanchez appealed the court’s decision, which was denied.

The municipality could now go to a higher court, the Council of State, but an earlier ruling set a similar precedent.

In December 2020, in connection with the case in Chalons-sur-Saone in eastern France, the Council of State ruled that neither principles of secularism nor neutrality in public services could prevent the introduction of alternative religion-based meals in schools by local authorities.

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