A halal supermarket in the suburbs of Paris has been threatened by authorities to start selling pork and alcohol — or else face severe consequences.
The Good Price discounted mini-market in Colombes only sells “halal” food — a term for food and drink that Muslims are allowed to eat under Islamic law — which means non-halal food like pork and alcohol are not sold in the market.
However, under the conditions of the lease, Soulemane Yalcin, the owner of the store, is obliged to run a “general food store” and that means catering to all members of the community, according to the French local authorities.
The officials argued that Good Price is not servicing all its customers if it does not offer pork and alcohol and it will be shut down if it didn’t comply with the lease’s terms and conditions.
The halal supermarket replaced another small market that offered both these products on the site last year and Besnard says the lack of alcohol and pork is forcing residents to travel further to do their grocery shopping.
The Colombes housing association, which leases the shop to Yalcin, said the store goes against French republican values by favoring specific groups in society.
“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,” the mayor’s chief of staff, Jerome Besnard, told The Telegraph.
Goueta have urged the owner previously to install a small area for selling alcohol and a delicatessen section; however Yalcin does not agree and has argued he offers products that consumers in the vicinity demand.
“It's business. I look around me and I target what I see,” the store owner said. “The lease states ‘general food store and local activities’ — but it all depends on how you interpret ‘local activities.’”
Yalcin has also cited security reasons for not wanting to sell alcohol at his superstore.
“All the stores that sell alcohol face security problems,” he said, as cited by Le Parisien, and added ham and bacon were not sold because “there were many losses in the deli department.” To prove his statement, Yalcin has also asked authorities to view the previous Franprix sales figure.
The French authority is taking legal action to revoke the shop’s lease which runs until 2019 and Yalcin’s case will heard in court on Oct. 13.
The issue comes at a time of increasing tensions between Muslim values and the French government.
While Yalcin's store is under attack for not selling non-halal products, in another part of France, the mayor of Pennes-Mirabeau, has decided to ban an exclusive pool party where female attendants are urged to wear “burkinis,” calling it a “provocation.”