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Now Serving, Kabob with a Side of European Racism
First the Niqab, now European politicians, like Robert Menard, are wanting to ban kabobs. Since entering politics, his rhetoric has been full of anti-immigrant and Islamophobic hate speech. The anti-kabob hate speech started in November of 2015 when Menard ranted against kabob restaurants in his city, on French television.
Menard has been the mayor of Beziers since April 2014. Beziers is in the southwest of France, near the Mediterranean sea. In the video, the mayor justified his decision to block kabob restaurants from opening in Beziers’s historic city center by explaining: “We are a nation of Judeo-Christian tradition.”1 What politicians like Menard seem to forget is that though kabobs originated in the middle east, Jesus was from there too.
Though there are many forms of kabob, the most common version, known to us westerners as a gyro. There is another version of kabob that is gaining a lot of controversy amongst European nations, the Turkish doner kabob, which is chopped up meat from a spit, often with tomato, lettuce, cabbage, sumac spiced onions, with a white, and/or spicy red sauce.
The kabob, which happens to be from immigrant origin, has become the latest item on the anti-immigrant agenda, for many places in Europe. A change in European Union law would ban the kabob. The law change proposal was made by EU law makers because “Health studies” have shown that the risk of kebab meat phosphates could put Europeans at greater risk of heart disease. The proposal came to vote this past week by the EU Health Committee voting 32-22 to oppose it.
Kabobs are a staple food amongst European, particularly Germans and their street-food vendors. Renate Sommer, a member of Angela Merkel’s, the German Chancellor, who is apart of the conservative party, wrote on Facebook that ‘a ban of the phosphate addition would be the end of doner production and would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs.’ This rings true because according to the daily Frankfurter Rundschau, a German newspaper, there are around 16,000 doner kabob restaurants in Germany, with 3 million doner dishes being sold daily. 2