Rabat - A grocery store in Bordeaux, southwestern France, has caused uproar after the store's owners, recent converts to Islam, had put up a sign announcing gender-specific days for customers in an attempt to make sure men and women do not meet.
Rabat – A grocery store in Bordeaux, southwestern France, has caused uproar after the store’s owners, recent converts to Islam, had put up a sign announcing gender-specific days for customers in an attempt to make sure men and women do not meet.
The sign at the” De L’Orient à L’Occidental” grocery in Bordeaux stipulates that “sisters” can shop during the weekend, while “brothers” are welcome on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
Jean-Baptiste Michelon, the store’s co-owner, said: “It’s really for practicing 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 only applied to Muslims.
The sign invoked the anger of local authorities, with Bordeaux Mayor Alain Juppé took to Twitter to call for authorities to put “an end to such a discriminatory practices and implement measures, which the law provides in such circumstances,” according to French media.
Naima Charai, the head of French equality group ACSE, wrote on Twitter that gender-related opening hours are “unimaginable and unacceptable,” adding that “Respect for the republic should be seven days a week.”
Marik Fetouh, the deputy mayor of Bordeaux in charge of equality, told 20 Minutes that gender-specific rules in shops were unprecedented.
“This is the first time we’ve seen something like this in Bordeaux,” he said. “Even if this is a very limited phenomenon, It’s problematic because it creates a bad image for the Muslim community, who actually abide by 99 per cent of the laws of France.
Discrimination cases in France can see penalties of up to three years in prison and fines of up to €45,000.
Bowing to the outcry, the owners decided to take down the sign for gender-specific days for customers.