PARIS – A top French judge ruled that an extreme-right group cannot serve pork soup to the needy, saying the charitable handouts aim to discriminate against Muslims and Jews who don't eat pork because of their faith.
Judge Christian Vigouroux of the Council of State, the country's highest administrative body, said late Friday that such giveaways by the far-right group Solidarity of the French threaten public order.
His ruling approved a decision by Paris police to refuse permits to the group on the grounds that such handouts could spark angry reactions.
France is home to more than 5 million Muslims and some 600,000 Jews. Both Islam and Judaism prohibit eating pork, and Vigouroux said the group had shown "a clearly discriminatory goal" with its charity.
Solidarity of the French was just one of several far-fight groups that began distributing pork soup across France over the last four years.
Critics contend the giveaway of pork soup is a far-right ploy to draw support for their efforts to defend against perceived threats to European culture.
Far-right groups defend the soup as nothing more than an age-old staple of the rural heartland from which all the French, at least in the national imagination, are said to spring.
"Pork-fat soup is traditionally the soup of the poor because it provides complete nourishment," said Bruno Le Griel, a lawyer for the group.
Le Griel argued that no needy Jew or Muslim was forced to consume the pork soup. But the judge said the group's Web site indicated it was a policy to refuse dessert to anyone who did not eat some soup first.