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French court overturns ruling ordering halal food in jail

A picture taken on March 15, 2012 in the French northern city of Hazebrouck, shows the Halal meat produce section of a supermarketA French court on Tuesday cancelled a November ruling ordering a prison to provide halal meals for Muslim prisoners, in the latest legal battle over an issue that has caused controversy in the secular republic. The French government had sought to overturn the ruling by an administrative tribunal that argued that the Saint-Quentin-Fallavier jail in southeast France should provide the meals on the basis that failing to do so would violate Muslim prisoners’ right to practice their religion. On Tuesday, a court in Lyon ruled that “given the possibility for detainees to get meals without pork or vegetarian meals, to get special meals during the main holidays and given the possibility to buy halal meat,” prisoners’ rights were being respected. Many Muslims view France, which is officially a secular republic despite being overwhelmingly Catholic, as imposing its values on them and other religious minorities.

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