THE leader of the county council has accused mosque chiefs of using Muslim children as pawns in their battle with the authority over halal food in schools.

It comes as the Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) renewed its call for parents to urge their children to boycott any meals supplied by Lancashire County Council.

The Lancashire Telegraph reported how the LCM first issued a warning in November over concerns that the produce was not being prepared correctly.

It said it found that suppliers providing meat and chicken to the county council for use in schools were failing to maint- ain the high halal standards they expected.

The LCM said it found a non-Muslim man slaughtering birds which were then termed as being halal during an inspection.

A meeting between bosses of the two authorities ended in deadlock after council leader Geoff Driver refused to agree to allow animals which have not been stunned before slaughter be put on school menus.

Salim Mulla, chairman of the LCM, said: “The county council is supposed to afford exemptions to people with religious requirements.

“They’re not listening to the requests from Muslim parents and the boycott will continue until they do.”

County Coun Driver said: “We asked the LCM if they would consider letting the children eat fish and vegetarian options provided by the county council.

“They said they would only do this if we removed the halal meat from menus from schools we provide to.

“This would put us in breach of equality laws and we can’t do it.

“It’s really very unfortunate that they’ve gone ahead with the boycott because a good number of the children affected are on free school meals.

“I think it’s extremely wrong for LCM to use the children as pawns in their battle with the county council over what they consider halal.”