24 June 2015

Muslim’s gender apartheid sparks row

French Muslim convert Jean-Baptiste Michalon, above, found himself at the centre of a row after he put up a sign at his grocery store in Bordeaux imposing male and female-only days on customers.

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

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. 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. 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.

Bordeaux Mayor Alain Juppé, who was Prime Minister under former conservative president Jacques Chirac, said the sign was:

In complete contradiction to republican rules on equality and gender mixing.

And he called for an inquiry. [The Freethinker] Read more