Circulating message features a strident letter supposedly sent to parents by Marc Duvivier, the mayor of the Belgium municipality of Ath, explaining why he refused to give in to demands from local Muslims to remove pork from school canteen menus.
The claims in the message are untrue. It is a hoax that first began circulating in 2013. No such letter was ever sent to parents. And Mayor Marc Duvivier has stated that the municipality never received any demands or requests to ban pork from canteens and the issue was never even discussed. Sharing this hoax will do nothing other than foster bigotry and hatred against Muslim members of the community.
A REAL MAYOR WHO REFUSES TO REMOVE PORK FROM THE SCHOOL CANTEENS EXPLAINS WHYMuslim parents demanded the abolition of pork in all the school canteens of Ath in Belgium.
Marc Duvivier the mayor of Ath, has refused, and the town clerk sent a note to all parents to explain why.
“Muslims must understand that they have to adapt to Belgium, its customs, its traditions, its way of life, because that’s where they chose to immigrate.
They must understand that they have to integrate and learn to live in Belgium.
They must understand that it is for them to change their lifestyle, not the Belgians who so generously welcomed them.
They must understand that the Athois are neither racist nor xenophobic, they accepted many immigrants before Muslims (whereas the reverse is not true that Muslims do not accept non-Muslim foreigners on their soil).
That no more than other nations, the Belgians are not willing to give up their identity, their culture.
And if Belgium is a land of welcome, it’s not Marc Duvivier that welcomes foreigners, but the Belgian people as a whole.
Finally, they must understand that in Belgium with its Judeo-Christian roots, Christmas trees, churches and religious festivals, religion must remain in the private domain. The municipality of Ath was right to refuse any concessions to Islam and Sharia.
For Muslims that disagree with secularism and do not feel comfortable in Belgium, there are 57 beautiful Muslim countries in the world, most of them under-populated and ready to receive them with open halal arms in accordance with Shariah.
If you left your country for Belgium, and not for other Muslim countries, it is because you have considered that life is better in Belgium than elsewhere.
Ask yourself the question, just once, “Why is it better here in Belgium than where you come from?”A canteen with pork is part of the answer
Message Claims ‘Real Mayor’ Refused Muslim Demands to Ban Pork at Schools
This message, which is currently circulating via social media, features a supposed note penned by Marc Duvivier, the ‘real mayor’ of Ath, a municipality of Belgium. According to the message, the note was sent to parents of school children in the area after local Muslims demanded that pork be banned from school canteen menus.
The note stridently explains why the Mayor refused to give into these supposed demands. It suggests in no uncertain terms that Muslims who are unwilling to adapt to the Belgium culture and way of life should feel free to leave and go to live in one of the ’57 beautiful Muslim countries in the world’ that are ‘ready to receive them with open halal arms in accordance with Shariah’.
Many commentators have applauded the stance supposedly taken by the mayor and have called upon their own political leaders to adopt a similar attitude.
Message is a Hoax – No such Demands Were Made – No Letter Sent
However, the message is just a nasty hoax. Mayor Duvivier did not write the letter and it was not sent to local parents by the municipality as claimed.
In fact, the mayor has denied that any requests to remove pork from school canteens were received in the first place. Mayor Duvivier issued a denial back in 2013 when the hoax first began circulating, noting that the claims were lies. He stated that:
[N]o person of any nationality or ethnic group whatsoever, have made such a request to the municipal services, with Mr. Bruno Boel, Municipal Secretary, or myself.
It is unclear who started the false rumour. Given that the supposed Muslim demands to ban pork from canteens were never made, and the mayor did not write or send the letter, this message has no credibility whatsoever and should not be circulated.
Such false information can foster bigotry and hatred within communities and sharing it will serve no good purpose.