Jean-Baptiste Devreux (L) confronted by lo cal Muslims (Photo: Creative Commons)
Elham Asaad Buaras
A Michelin–starred restaurant in the suburbs of Paris has been accused of Islamophobia after its chef was filmed refusing to serve Muslim customers, arguing “All Muslims are terrorists”.
The YouTube clip posted on August 28 shows two Muslim women being refused service at Le Cenacle.
The chef Jean-Baptiste Devreux was filmed telling the women: “The terrorists are Muslim and all Muslims are terrorists… They recently killed a priest. This is a secular country and I have a right to an opinion… I don’t want people like you here. Full stop.”
The women replied they “do not wish to be served by a racist.”
He finally tells them to “get out”, to which they reply: “Don’t worry, we’re leaving”.
The chef has now been interviewed by police on suspicion of enacting “racial discrimination” and the Minister for Families, Children And Women’s Rights, Laurence Rossignol, said that she had asked Dilcra – a government anti-racism body – to investigate, describing the behaviour as “intolerable”.
Devreux told the local media: “I spoke out of turn and I apologise. I have a friend who died in the Bataclan attacks and wrongly mixed everything up. I do not truly believe the things I said, my comments did not reflect what I really think.”
However, members of the local Muslim community have called for a boycott of the restaurant.
The CCIF (Committee Against Islamophobia in France) has issued a statement of support for the two women and pledged to give “emotional and legal support” to them.
Tensions in France escalated last month amidst the so called burkini ban. The ban, initiated by a number of towns, prohibited modest swimwear worn by some women on the beach, particularly Muslim women.
France’s highest court ruled the ban is “seriously and clearly illegal”. However, right-wing politicians have pledged to keep the ban by passing legislation at central government level.
Former President Nicolas Sarkozy called the burkini swimwear “a provocation” and claimed France’s “identity is under threat”. He is currently running for re-election in 2017 and has pledged to introduce a nation-wide burkini ban if successful.