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Response to Gerald Lankin

Reader comment on item: Islamists, Get Out

Submitted by Carl Samet (United States), Aug 31, 2005 at 14:27

Mr. Lankin, you said:

" If the meeting had been with a group of Orthodox Jews from Israel, I'm sure there would have been no question that a Kosher meal would have been served."

You were trying to assert an equivalence between the laws of kashrut and the Islamic prohibition against alcohol, and specifically, the Iranian delegation's demand that no alcohol be served at the meeting. There is no such equivalence.

If the hypothetical Israeli delegation had requested a kosher meal, it would not have prevented the Belgians from eating a non-kosher meal at the same table. Orthodox Jews request the "fruit plate" (speaking metaphorically) quite often when they are not convinced that the meal to be served will adhere strictly to the laws of kashrut. Thus, a Jewish request for a kosher meal is not a demand that others (especially non-Jews) refrain from eating non-kosher food.

In contrast, the Iranians were demanding that everyone at the table conform to their narrow and restrictive religious law. THAT is what the Belgians, quite correctly, refused to do.
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