Far-right charity's pork soup ruled not racist

A FRENCH charity with links to the extreme right has begun serving pork soup to homeless people after a judicial ruling that it was not a racist act.

Solidarit des Franais (SDF) has been accused of deliberate discrimination against Jews and Muslims, who do not eat the meat. But the charity has defended offering what it calls traditional cuisine to French and European homeless people.

The distribution of "racist soup" - as it has been dubbed by critics - first began in the winter of 2004.

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The practice was banned by Paris city council on the grounds that it was racist and discriminatory, after police closed the soup kitchens in an effort to prevent the rise of racial tension.

However, a Paris judge overturned the ban on 28 December, allowing the charity to begin serving its Soupe de Cochon again.

SDF is associated with a small far-right organisation called Bloc Identitaire.

Bertrand Delanoe, the Socialist mayor of Paris, denounced the judge's decision yesterday and called on the capital's chief of police to appeal against the decision.

"Faced with this initiative, which stinks of xenophobia, I confirm the will of the city council to denounce and to combat all forms of discrimination, racism and anti-Semitism," he said.

The row came as Dominique de Villepin, the prime minister, vowed to make housing a legally enforceable right, as the government came under renewed pressure to help the country's estimated one million homeless, 100,000 of whom are sleeping on the streets.

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