Inquiry launched into French restaurateur's refusal to serve Muslim women
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A restaurant owner in the northeastern Paris suburb of Tremblay-en-France is facing an investigation for racial discrimination after refusing to serve two veiled Muslim women at his establishment over the weekend.
The incident, which took place at the Le Cénacle restaurant on Saturday, was filmed by one of the two women and later posted online.
In the video a woman’s voice can be heard saying, “We don’t want to be served by racists, Sir,” to which the restaurant owner responds: “Racists like me don’t plant bombs and don’t kill people.”
“Terrorists are Muslim and all Muslims are terrorists,” he continues. “I don’t want people like you in my place. Now that you know, you can get out.”
The video triggered widespread outrage, prompting the local prosecutor’s office in the nearby suburb of Bobigny to open an investigation into the owner of Le Cénacle for racial discrimination.
Anouar Kbibech, president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (Conseil français du culte musulman, or CFCM), took to Twitter on Sunday to express his “indignation” over the incident.
Indignation du #CFCM suite refus de servir 2 musulmanes par Restaurant à Tremblay car "les musulmans sont des terroristes". Suite à venir !— Anouar KBIBECH (@AnouarKbibech) August 28, 2016
Laurence Rossignol, minister for women’s rights, announced Sunday that she had asked a government committee dedicated to fighting racism and anti-Semitism to take action over the restaurant owner’s “intolerable behaviour”.
The mayor of Tremblay-en-France, François Asensi, condemned the “hateful and stigmatising speech recorded in the video”, which he said amounted to an offense punishable by law.
The restaurateur apologised for his actions on Sunday as calls to boycott his establishment flooded social media sites alongside negative reviews.
“I freaked out,” he told France’s BFMTV, and offered an apology to the two women and the broader Muslim community.
A source close to the investigation told AFP that the restaurant owner and his family had since left their home – located above Le Cénacle – for security reasons.
The same source said that the premises of the restaurant had been secured by the authorities.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)