Europe is experiencing another threat to its cultural distinction as a result of the massive influx of unwanted and largely Muslim migrants to the continent. Not only are Europe’s social, religious, and artistic identities under assault from the new migrants, but its rich culinary history is also threatened by migrants whose religious dietary laws do not comport with eating habits existing in Europe for centuries.
The conflict between traditional Europeans and Muslim migrants has been particularly acute in Denmark, a nation that prides itself on its export-quality pork products, including its most delectable offering, Danish ham. Pork products represent 5 percent of Danish exports.
The issue between Danish and foreign culinary cultures first came to a head in 2012 when the Copenhagen Hospitality College came under fire for requiring its Muslim students to taste pork and drink wine. One Muslim student was told he could not graduate if he refused to taste pork or sip wine. Islam permits one to taste pork but observant Muslims must spit it out before swallowing it. The Muslim community forced the Danish government to take a stand, one that ultimately resulted in then-Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of the Social Democratic Party criticizing day care centers that dropped pork from their menus in order to placate Muslims. The pro-migrant Red-Green Alliance condemned the college’s requirement but the anti-migrant Danish People’s Party questioned why someone who prepared Danish-style cuisine would refuse to taste it.
The issue of pork-abstaining Muslim migrants came up again last year in Denmark. A 24-year old female migrant from Libya who was a student at the Holstebro Culinary School raised a legal issue then the school told her she would have to taste the pork just as was required of all the other students. Rather than comply, the student brought a legal action before the Danish Equal Treatment Board, which fined the school. There is a feeling in Denmark and other countries that Muslims want Europe to change its own traditional culinary traditions to placate the «haram» restrictions of Islam. The school was originally fined $75,000 for merely requiring all Danish culinary students to prepare and taste the same food. The Danish High Court subsequently reduced the fine after a public clamor against the original steep fine.
The issue of Danish customary cuisine reappeared in the news this past January when the Danish town of Randers announced that it would henceforth be mandatory for all municipal institutions, including schools, nursing homes, day care centers, government cafeterias, and hospitals. The Danish People’s Party supported the town and stressed that it was «unacceptable to ban Danish food culture», adding, «the DPP is working nationally and locally for Danish culture, including Danish food culture, and consequently we also fight against Islamic rules and misguided considerations dictating what Danish children eat».
Not only have Danish institutions been forced to abandon pork but they have been browbeaten into preparing all meat dishes according to Muslim «halal» standards.
European culinary traditions have also come under assault in the Italian city of Verona, the storied home of Shakespeare’s «Romeo and Juliet». Verona recently banned the opening of new Middle Eastern and Asian restaurants because it feared that the traditional fare of the city was disappearing under a wave of kebab shops and Chinese restaurants. Verona mayor Flavio Tosi stated in support of the ban, «Thanks to this provision it will not be permitted to open new artisan shops producing and selling food whose preparation will affect the decorum of the city. This will protect not just the historical and architectural heritage of the city center, but also the tradition and culture typical of the Verona area».
Previously, the Italian city of Lucca in Tuscany, and the towns of Forte dei Marmi and Altopascio banned new ethnic restaurants, such kebab shops and Middle Eastern restaurants favoring couscous over traditional Italian polenta.
As was the case of Denmark, Italian officials faced immediate criticism from social rights groups, many of which are directly funded by the European Union and George Soros’s various non-profit contrivances. The dog whistle charge of fascism, xenophobia, and racism was all the critics could offer. Not once have the Sorosites and pan-Europeanists called for the protection of European culture and social values against those being forced on Europe by unregulated migration from abroad.
Assaults on traditional European cuisine by Islamist puritans have probably not been felt more strongly than in the culinary center of the world: France. Muslim and «human rights» pressure groups have pressured food manufacturers over everything from pork in traditional French sausages to whether mushrooms are, in fact, forbidden «haram» in dishes served to observant Muslims. But French pork products, as well as the French goose liver delicacy foie gras, are also considered haram and disdained on the menus of restaurants frequented by France’s large Muslim population. Also forbidden by the Islamist culinary imperialists is any dish prepared with wine, beer, or liquor, even when the alcohol is cooked off, because, according to Muslims, alcohol in even small amounts is forbidden.
Always willing to back the Muslims over «culinary correctness» is Europe’s Jewish community, which sees any restrictions on pushing halal standards as a potential slippery slope to challenge to kosher standards, two Middle East-originated religious food preparation techniques that are similar but alien to strictly European culinary habits.
In 2012, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon created a political firestorm when he suggested that «certain religions» consider changing their «ancestral traditions» of animal slaughter, namely halal and kosher preparation of meat products by slitting the throats of the animals. France’s Grand Rabbi and the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) joined in castigating Fillon for his remarks. Fillon’s statement followed National Front presidential candidate Marine Le Pen claiming that all the meat sold in Paris came from halal butchers. The joint opposition by rabbis and imams to French measures to resist their culinary traditions from being subsumed by foreign influences have not been limited to France. Halal butchery practices have been an issue in Germany ever since a court banned the procedure in 1995 without first stunning the animal. German Muslims argue that the law was applied only against halal butchers even though kosher butchers essentially perform the same throat-slitting practices and were not required to stun the animal first.
In 2012, Poland’s high court followed the German example and banned a 2004 law that permitted the religious slaughter of conscious animals. Denmark banned religious slaughter in 2015 and Danish minister for agriculture and food Dan Jørgensen responded to the outcry from Muslim and Jewish groups by stating, that «animal rights come before religion». In 2010, the Party for the Animals in the Netherlands saw a bill to ban ritualistic animal slaughter pass in the lower house of the parliament but eventually defeated in the Senate. Similar regulations were advanced in Slovenia and Estonia.
While immigrant groups in Europe demand European appetites change in order to accommodate them, there is no reciprocity. In 2014, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia threatened to ban the import of Cadbury chocolate bars because small traces of pig DNA were discovered in the chocolate. With the culinary correctness crowd, respect for dietary traditions is truly a one-way street.