A Danish vocational school has been ordered to pay 75,000 Danish kroner to a Muslim student who was expelled from the school in 2010 because she refused to taste pork, which is forbidden in Islam.
The Danish Equal Status Council has ordered the school, located in the Jutland town of Holsterbro, to pay a fine to the student, who is of Lebanese origin.
The council ruled that coercing Muslim students eat pork is discrimination. An official from the council, Erling Brandstrup, said this is the first time such a decision has been made by the council and this will set a precedent for future cases.
The school’s management criticized the ruling. Svend Ørgaard, the school’s principal, said they have respect for people’s beliefs but they think it is very difficult to expect someone who does not taste pork to become a chef or deputy chef.
Trine Bramsen, a deputy from the ruling Danish Social Democrat Party, supported the tribunal’s ruling, saying that Muslim students should be allowed to graduate from their schools without having to taste pork.
Another vocational school, the Copenhagen Hospitality College, was also in the news earlier this month when it required a young Muslim to taste pork in order to graduate. İkram Korkmaz, who was studying to become a nutritionist’s assistant, refused to taste pork and wine. Shortly after his story was published in the Turkish daily newspapers Zaman and Today’s Zaman, Education Minister Christine Antorini sent Korkmaz a letter, saying that the school management could not force him to taste anything that goes against the dietary restrictions stipulated by his religion.
Antorini also told Korkmaz that officials from the ministry spoke with the principal of the Copenhagen Hospitality College. In her letter she congratulated Korkmaz for pursuing a career in the culinary arts and stated that students who refused to taste certain foods due to dietary restrictions arising from faith or illness, such as an allergy, cannot be forced to do so.