In what best illustrates the integration process France wants everyone in the country to follow, local authorities in Colombes area of Paris have directed a halal supermarket to sell pork and alcohol from the store or shut down. According to local authorities, the supermarket, Good Price, is not following terms of its lease. Authorities state that the conditions dictate that the supermarket act as a “general food store”. This is why the local administration is taking legal action to revoke the lease which runs till 2019. Good Price started operations in the area in April 2015, when it replaced a small supermarket.
Non-Muslim locals complain that they are unable to buy products that were once available like pork and alcohol.
Colombes Mayor Nicole Goueta reportedly went to the supermarket and asked them to add non-halal meat and alcohol to the range of products.
File photo. AFP/Getty
Stressing that the authorities want a “social mix” her chief of staff, Jerome Besnard, said, “We don’t want any area that is only Muslim or any area where there are no Muslims.”
Pointing out that the decision of the authorities was not directed at a particular community, Besnard said that the action would have been the same had a kosher supermarket opened on the site. But Soulemane Yalcin, the manager of Good Price, hinted that the supermarket is only targeting the population based on the demography. Yalcin said, “”It’s business. I look around me and I target what I see.” He pointed out that the lease also has the phrase “related activities”. “It all depends on how you interpret ‘related activities’,” he said. It is worth noting that the recent wave of terror attacks on France has driven a wedge between communities. Though the general population of France has remained united, a renewed debate has been sparked over the perceived inability of the immigrants from Syria and North Africa to integrate and assimilate with local customs, culture, and tradition.