German government criticised for serving pork at Islam event
Interior Ministry says it regrets serving sausage at the Berlin conference
Germany’s government is under fire for serving pork sausage at a conference on Islam in Berlin this week.
The German Interior Ministry has been forced into an apology over the food choice that it said was selected for a “diverse religious attendance” at the event known as the German Islam Conference.
On the menu was blutwurst, known as blood sausage, which includes pig’s blood, pork and bacon. Muslims are forbidden from eating pork.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer was in attendance at the conference, despite once claiming that Islam has no place in the country and that Germany had been “shaped by Christianity”. He said he wants to see a “German Islam”.
The decision to serve pork was seen by critics as intentional, although the ministry said it had served halal, vegetarian and fish dishes.
“What signal does Seehofer's interior ministry want to send? A little respect for Muslims, who don't eat pork, is needed.” German journalist Tuncay Özdamar wrote on Twitter.
Another Twitter user wrote: “Did they have the same mistake at a Jewish event?”
Germany has been at the centre of a rise of the far-right in Europe, with the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party becoming the country’s third-largest and stoking anti-migrant feeling after more than a million people entered the country’s border at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015.
The group portrayed Chancellor Angela Merkel in a Muslim headdress and with vampire teeth in their posters and online posts when railing against her pro-migration policies.
Another far-right group, Pegida, has staged protests in the eastern city of Chemnitz, attended by neo-Nazis performing the salutes once acted out by the leaders of the Nazi party.
In line with the far-right rise, centrists such as Mr Seehofer have tried to toughen their rhetoric in order to win back voters, but this has had the opposite effect. In Bavaria, his party suffered major losses.
Updated: December 1, 2018 11:52 AM