By Sana Elouazi
By Sana Elouazi
Rabat – The court of Nanterre in France ordered on Monday the closure of a halal grocery store after it was accused by local housing authority for “community trading” and respecting of its lease contract, which stipulates that the shop must act as a “general food store.”
The case dates back to August 2016, when the office of low-income housing rental (HLM) in Colombes, chaired by the mayor of the city, Nicole Goueta, initiated the lawsuit against the Good Price mini-market for breaching its lease.
The landlord pointed out that it was impossible to find bottles of wine or pork on the shelves, even though the lease had been granted for a “general food business.”
The office then argued that the commercial space had been rented for “general food activity” and that the store was not serving all members of the local community if there were no alcohol or pork products available.
For the court of Nanterre, which sentenced in favor of the office HLM, a halal grocery store is not a “general food store” and thus doesn’t meet “the needs of all residents of the neighborhood.”
This decision is a victory for the mayor, who tried for two years to convince the manager to diversify his business.
For the town hall, Good Price is a “community grocery store, which corresponds to a religious practice.”
“It is a public facility, which depends on the municipal office of HLM, so it was a service given to the population. As a mayor and secular person, I must enforce secularism in the neighborhood,” said Mayor Goueta.
Soulemane Yalcine, who owns Good Price mini-market franchise in Colombes, categorically refused the accusations saying that he was not catering to the demands of his customers in the area.
His lawyer listed all the well-known brands on sale in the store, including “Haribo, which is not halal.” He argued that alcohol and pork are not essential goods for a supermarket and should not be taken into account.
In addition to the termination of the lease and the eviction of the tenants, the managers will also have to pay EUR 4,000 to the lessor for legal costs.
Yalcine has already announced he will try to appeal the expulsion.