By Jess Staufenberg – Independent
Mosques in France should be funded through a tax on halal meat, a French politician has reportedly said.
Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, a leading figure in France’s centre-right party The Republicans, said it was “reasonable” for citizens to find a way to fund their own religions.
She said a one-per-cent tax on halal meat – meat killed in a way considered holy within Islam – would amount to €60 million in funding to build mosques in France, according to The Local.
The previous spokeswoman for Nicolas Sarkozy made the suggestion in her new book, and was asked to defend the “novel idea” on France 2.
“You consume this product which has a religious aspect and the money goes to finance the religion,” she said.
“I think that it is reasonable to find a way for everyone to finance their own religion.”
She added that the Catholic Church relied on donations from parishioners to sustain itself and that the same could be true of mosques in France.
Many protests have been held outside mosques in the country by Muslims over lack of funding and overcrowding within places of worship, with some politicians saying a lack of a dignified place to worship could fuel radicalisation in some cases.
Yet France’s status as a secular nation – one in which the state and religion are kept separate – has heightened tensions over the prospect of increased funding.
Tensions in France were heightened when some of France’s six million Muslims asked whether empty churches could be converted, according to Reuters.
While a large proportion of French people class themselves as Catholic, only a fraction of them regularly attend sermons, statistics have shown.
A ban on the full veil was widely interpreted as a hostile move against the country’s Islamic community, while the availability of halal meat has been criticised by right-wing groups.