As Muslims prepare to celebrate Hari Raya Puasa next week, a tweet by an outspoken politician in France has caused a huge stir amongst the Muslim community there.
Businessman and politician Jacques Renaud portrayed the killing of an infant in the Gaza Strip as similar to animals being slaughtered according to Islamic ritual.
The tweet has been deleted from his account, but re-tweeted by several Twitter users.
Renaud wrote on Twitter: ‘Great support to all the attacked Jews of France, we are in the 21st Century, a bit of humanity and civility would be welcome.’
A critic responded by tweeting a picture of a decapitated child, referring to the Israeli army having killed more than 200 children during its assault on Gaza.
In response to the image, Renaud replied: ‘It’s Halal meat, I suppose.’
Halal is Arabic for permissible, and refers to food which adheres to Islamic law, as defined in the Koran.
Halal meat is a big issue in France, where the five million plus Muslim community regularly complains about government attempts to outlaw it.
Renaud is the right wing deputy mayor affiliated to the UMP opposition.
Freedom of speech is a double-edged sword. It enlivens and emboldens, enriches and ensnares.
As people, whatever our religious affiliation, it’s perhaps best to stick to the facts. Let’s leave the dirty talk to the politicians. We’d be hard-pressed to consider them people, anyway.