The issue of whether canteens in state schools should provide substitute meals for Muslim pupils when pork is on the menu has poisoned French politics in recent years. The controversy came to a head earlier this year when a right-wing mayor in east France decided to remove alternative dishes in his town’s school canteens. Gilles Platret, a member of Nicolas Sarkozy’s Les Républicains party, made the move despite the fact that, along with thousands of other schools across France, Chalon-sur-Saône’s canteens had been providing pork-free alternative lunches for Muslim and Jewish pupils for more than 30 years.
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