French fast food chain Quick sparks halal
A French council has lodged a complaint
against a fast food chain that serves only meat that conforms with Islamic dietary laws at a local branch. The mayor of Roubaix, in northern France, said the halal menu constituted "discrimination" against
The Roubaix branch is one of several restaurants
at which the chain, Quick, took non-halal products
and pork off the menu in November. The move has triggered the latest row over France's Muslim
Several deputies from French
President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative UMP party
have condemned the move, while Marine Le Pen, a vice-president of the far-right
National Front, warned of "Islamisation". Their
comments came ahead of regional elections in France next month, and against the
backdrop of a debate over French national identity launched by Mr Sarkozy's government.
Mayor Rene Vandierendonck, a socialist, called for a
boycott of the Quick branch, and the town council has filed a complaint for
discrimination with a regional court in Lille.
"I'm not bothered by the fact that there is a halal
menu," Mr Vandierendonck said. "But this is
going too far because it is the only menu on offer and it has become
Quick decided to take a bacon
hamburger off the menu at eight of its 350 branches, replacing it with a halal version that comes with smoked turkey. It said the
move was designed to test the "commercial interest and technical
feasibility" of introducing halal menus.
The Quick manager responsible for
branch said there had been a slight increase in business after the introduction
of halal menus and that he had not received
complaints from customers, AFP news agency reported.
is home to Europe's biggest Muslim minority,
estimated at more than five million people. Debate has recently focussed on the
Islamic veil, with a French parliamentary committee recommending a partial ban
on women wearing Islamic face veils last month.