A halal supermarket in the suburbs of Paris has been ordered by local authorities to start selling alcohol and pork or face closure.
One of the conditions on the lease by the local housing authority stipulated that Good Price discount mini-market must act as a "general food store." The authority argues that all members of the local community are not being served if there are no alcohol or pork products in the store, which is run as a franchise in Colombes and replaced another small supermarket last year.
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According to the mayor’s chief of staff, Jérôme Besnard, “The mayor of Colombes, Nicole Goueta, went there herself and asked the owner to diversify the range of products by adding alcohol and non-halal meats,” reports Telegraph.
Besnard said that locals, particularly older residents, have complained they no longer get the full range of products at Good Price and have to travel a distance now to do their shopping.
“We want a social mix. We don’t want any area that is only Muslim or any area where there are no Muslims,” Besnard said, adding the town’s reaction would have been the same had a kosher shop opened on that spot.
Further, the Colombes housing authority argues that the store breaches French republican principles by making a certain group a priority rather than catering to all categories.
The housing authority has taken legal action to bring an end to the lease which would normally run until 2019. The case will be heard in court in October.
Soulemane Yalcin, who runs the shop said he was only catering to the demands of his customers in the area. “It’s business,” said Yalcin.
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“I look around me and I target what I see. The lease states ‘general food store and related activities’ - but it all depends on how you interpret ‘related activities’,” he told Le Parisien newspaper. Yalcin has hired a lawyer to fight the eviction.
Earlier, plans for a waterpark in Marseille to set aside a day just for Muslim women wearing burqinis — full-body swimsuits — sparked outrage in secular France on Thursday.
Criticism of the plan also came from the political left, with Senator Michel Amiel — who is mayor of the northern suburb, Les Pennes Mirabeau, where the waterpark is located — saying he would seek a ban.
This article originally appeared on The Telegraph.
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