Outrage over Muslim gender 'ban' in French grocery store

Shop in Bordeaux has put up a sign stating male and female-only days for customers but owner says it is not 'compulsory'.

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A Muslim-owned grocery store in the southeastern French city of Bordeaux has prompted outrage after putting up a sign imposing male and female-only days for customers, reports FRANCE 24.

The shop displayed a sign in the window asking “sisters” to come on Saturdays and Sundays, and “brothers” to visit on weekdays.

The shop owner, Muslim convert Jean-Baptiste Michalon, insisted he had acted in good faith and was not telling customers when they could or couldn’t visit his shop.

“We did this in response to requests from ‘sisters’ who preferred to come when my wife is working,” he told AFP. “We do also sell clothes here.”

“It was a sign meant entirely for clients who understand that mixing of sexes is not permitted in our [Muslim] religion,” Michalon, a recent convert to Islam, said. “It was not meant to be compulsory. I had no idea that it was against the law.”

Under the French penal code, discrimination on the grounds of gender is punishable by fines of up to 45,000 euros and a maximum of three years in jail.

Read more of this report from FRANCE 24.

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