al-taqwaStudents told to wear red, yellow disks around their necks at lunchtime in move likened to Nazi Germany

A French school recently directed its Jewish and Muslim students to wear yellow or red disks around their necks during lunchtime, drawing fierce condemnation from parents and local politicians.

Children at the Piedalloues primary school in Auxerre, Burgundy who do not eat pork were told to wear the red marker in the cafeteria, while those who forgo meat altogether were branded with the yellow sign, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

Parents and local authorities expressed outrage at the move, likening it to the yellow star in Nazi Germany.

“It’s revolting. It reminds you of the darkest times. Practices like this are not acceptable,” said local council member Malika Ounes. “No one has the right to impose this on children.”

Council spokesman Christian Sautier said the “isolated, clumsy and unfortunate initiative” lasted one day before it was withdrawn.

“It was put into effect by canteen staff without informing local authorities, who ended it immediately,” he said.

France has been grappling with how to reconcile religious beliefs with secular values when it comes to pork in school lunches. After banning Muslim headscarves in classrooms in 2004, France is now tackling what to put on the plates of observant Muslim and Jewish schoolchildren, who by tradition don’t eat pork.

Schools often offer pork substitutes, but nothing mandatory nationwide. In 2008, Lyon became the first major city to impose an alternative meatless menu in schools. In recent months, several mayors of medium-sized towns have announced their intention to do the same.

France is home to both western Europe’s largest Muslim population, estimated at 5 million, and largest Jewish population.

AP contributed to this report.

Source