Because of frequent inquiries on whether veganism aligns with religion, the Vegan Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina organized a panel discussion at which panelists, from their religion perspectives, connected veganism to the very principles of faith.
Dina Stefanović was one of the panelists, and in the introduction, she emphasized that orthodox Christianity promotes a philosophy of mercy and categorically supported veganism as something allowed to orthodox believers. Alija Osmić, our second panelist, agreed with Dina and her Christian view of veganism by saying that veganism is also allowed in Islam.
From a catholic perspective, Željka Bišćan emphasized that the Catholic church still does not have a strict opinion on veganism, but that Pope Francis himself advocates for love towards all beings, not only humans. Dina also emphasized that veganism does not go against Orthodox Catholicism and that veganism is actually welcomed, as fasting in Christianity includes abstaining from animal products. Apart from that, Dina believes that it would be absurd not to do all we can to prevent climate change, which is possible through veganism, whereas Alija concluded that neither consuming nor not consuming meat make us better believers. Željka went further, quoting one of the 10 commands ‘Do not kill’ which also applies to animals.
In this panel discussion, we touched upon the question of religious sacrifice as an important part of Islam, and Alija emphasized that the word ‘Kurban’ includes a sacrifice, which according to his opinion can be made through other actions, not necessarily including slaughter.
With unfortunately common judgment upon vegans, as well as calling it a sect, Dina emphasized that she herself has gone through similar things, but the problem is actually the society which, using tradition as an excuse, does not want to change for the better.
In the end, our panelists invited all of us to become vegan, because religion cannot prevent something entirely humane, ecological and ethical, which veganism definitely is.
Religion is a part of our medium and is very important, but exactly because of the mercy that it promotes, religion must not be used as a cover against veganism.