Excerpt:

Knorbert the piglet has been dropped as the mascot of Fortis Bank after it decided to stop giving piggy banks to children for fear of offending Muslims.

The decision has been viewed in the Netherlands as the ritual slaughter of a popular pig by political correctness. To some, it is the latest sign of uncertainty in Europe's most tolerant country about how far it should go to accommodate the sensitivities of minorities. It comes as the country is braced for a backlash against the plans of Geert Wilders, a right-wing politician, to release a critical film about the Koran.

Pigs are considered an unclean animal by Muslims and Jews, and Knorbert was culled after seven years as the Fortis mascot. A spokesman told the Dutch media that "Knorbert does not meet the requirements that the multicultural society imposes on us". The bank added that there had been "a number of reactions to the pig" and that a new gift and character were being developed that would be "fun for children of any persuasion". Children who had received a Knorbert piggy bank for opening a EuroKids account will be given a junior encyclopaedia instead.


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