Due to a shortage of Muslim halal butchers in the UK an advert has been placed in the local press in Bialystok, northeast Poland, to fill the gap.
But what qualifications do Polish Muslims need to follow in the footsteps of around 250,000 Poles who have made their way to Britain since the expansion of the EU a year and a half ago? The ad calls for “Muslims... who pray five times a day and adhere to the principles of halal cuisine, with no pork or alcoholic beverage."
There are about 25,000 Muslims in Poland, many have been here for centuries. News24,com reports, “Around one-quarter of Polish Muslims are descendants of Tatars who fled the Mongol warrior Genghis Kahn over 600 years ago, many settling in Poland's Bialystok region, near the border with Belarus.”
Wojtek Kość at the Central European Review writes that during Communism, Polish Muslims were not allowed to organize civil associations. But today they are recognized as an official religious minority.
They are organized in six religious communities: Warsaw, Białystok, Bohoniki, Kruszyniany, Gdańsk, and Gorzów Wielkopolski. They have three mosques: an 18th century one in Kruszyniany, a mid-19th century one in Bohoniki and a new mosque built in Gdańsk in 1990. There are also prayer houses in Warsaw and Białystok.
Abdulwahab Bouali, 31, takes care of the Białystok prayer house. He is a member of the Muslim Students Association in Poland, a union of followers of Islam from Muslim countries in the East who have come to Poland to study. Born in Algeria, he has lived in Poland for 14 years now and is a pilot who graduated of the Dęblin Aviation School.
"The prayer house I'm taking care of—and live in—will only serve its purpose until the mosque is built here in Białystok," he says. "What we're doing here is ensuring local Muslims get a chance to practice their faith. We also organize lectures for people of other creeds, because the picture of Islam they get from TV is distorted. It is associated with terrorism and a lack of rights for women, but the truth is that Islam is the only creed that does assure women true rights."
Yeah, right. But get ready Brits - you have learnt to love the Polish plumber, now get ready for the Polish Muslim butcher!