(JTA) — A municipality near Paris warned farmers of an elevated risk of theft of sheep and fowl ahead of the Muslim and Jewish holidays of Eid al-Adha and Yom Kippur, respectively.
The warning, which provoked angry reactions on the part of communal leaders who felt it was discriminatory, came in a letter sent earlier this month by a branch of the police department of Hauts-de-Seine, an area comprising several suburbs east of the French capital, the Le Paisien Weekly reported last week.
In the hours prior to Yom Kippur, in some Jewish communities roosters and chickens are waved several times in the air and slaughtered as atonement for sins incurred during the previous year. The meat is given to charity. Religious laws forbid the use of a stolen chicken for the rite.
Joel Mergui, president of the Consistoire, the organization responsible for providing religious services to Jewish communities, said that after reading about the circular, he was “amazed to discover” that he “suddenly and collectively, with all the coreligionists of the Jewish faith, become a potential chicken thief,”