Fury over gender ban in Bordeaux Muslim grocery store
The south-eastern French wine capital of Bordeaux is up in arms over a Muslim-owned grocer’s decision to impose male and female-only days for customers.
A small sign outside the De L’Orient à L’Occidental (From East to West) store stipulated that women were only welcome on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday and Fridays.
Men, on the other hand, were kindly asked to take their custom elsewhere on weekends.
The gender split was put in place by the store’s owners, recent converts to Islam, to make sure women and men do not meet.
Jean-Baptiste Michelon, the store’s co-owner, said: “It’s really for practising Muslims. A man doesn’t want to find himself alone with a woman. A woman who comes to buy books here doesn’t want to find herself alone with a man, especially out of respect if she is married.”
“I don’t think her husband would accept such things,” he told BFM TV, adding that the rule did not apply to non-Muslims.
But it invoked the wrath of local authorities, with Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé calling for authorities to intervene to “put a stop to such discriminatory practices” that could lead to “criminal charges”.
He said he “firmly condemns behaviour that is totally contradictory to the rules of the French Republic’s rules on equality and (gender) mixing.”
Naïma Charaï, a Socialist regional councillor and head of French equality group ACSE, criticised the gender-specific opening hours, saying they were “unimaginable and unacceptable”.
“Respect for the republic should be seven days a week,” she wrote on Twitter.
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