French Angered by Burger Chain's Pork Ban

FRANCE - A French fast food chain has fuelled the country’s bitter debate over the influence of Muslim values by banning pig products from its menu.
calendar icon 3 September 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Quick, the No. 2 burger chain in France after McDonald’s, serves halal-only food in 22 of its outlets, targeting the country’s large Muslim population. The Telegraph reports that the bacon has been removed from bacon burgers, replaced by smoked turkey.

Quick claimed sales doubled at restaurants that have tested the concept but the move has opened a new chapter in the debate war over how much society should accommodate Muslim traditions.

The French Senate looks set to approve a ban on Islamic face-covering veils such as niqabs or burqas despite Muslim fears the law will stigmatise them.

Halal beef must come from a cow that has been killed by a cut to its jugular vein from which all the blood from the carcass is drained.

Marine Le Pen, of the far-right National Front party, said Quick’s decision was a “scandal“. “I’m not Muslim, I don’t want this imposed on me,“ she said.

Stephane Gatignon, the mayor of the Paris suburb of Sevran and a member of the environmentalist party Europe Ecologie, says he is worried the Quick in his town will become a Muslims-only hangout, preventing ethnic groups from mingling. The chain launched its halal-only burger restaurants in the middle of Ramazan. Quick says the date was purely a coincidence.

Abdel El Machkour, who oversees Quick franchises for the Paris region, said the goal is simply to be able to serve its products to a larger number of people. “The fact that we propose this halal food range is not led by any kind of will to segregate a particular community — it is to propose a product range that many clients from all religions can consume.“

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