French Shopkeeper Prosecuted for Asking Woman To Remove Islamic Chador

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A French tobacconist in the commune of Albi has been handed down a three-month conditional sentence and a €3,000 fine after asking a Muslim woman wearing a chador to remove it from her head to identify herself.

Tobacconist Marie P. requested that Muslim Anaïs R. remove the part of the chador covering her head claiming that the shop had a strict policy stating that no one was allowed wear a helmet or a hood in the shop, Le Figaro reports.

“Since I’m new here, I thought I would do what she asked,” Anaïs R. said and added that she explained to the shopkeeper that due to the fact her face was visible she was not in violation of the French law banning the full-face Islamic veil, and that Marie P.’s request was against the law.

Anaïs R. then picked up the package she was at the shop to collect and later brought charges of “discrimination on the grounds of religion and refusal of a good or service in a public place or to prohibit access,” against Marie P. with the aid of the French Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) organisation.

Marie P. was arrested by police a week after the incident and was also brought up on three other charges from three separate women whom she had also told to remove their Islamic headgear.

Earlier this week the Albi court found her guilty of discrimination, handing her a three-month conditional sentence and a €3,000 fine.

The case is yet another conflict between French secular values and the religious practices of Muslims.

In 2016, the conflict made national news in France over the debate surrounding the Islamic sharia-compliant swimwear known as the “burkini.”

Some areas, like the city of Cannes, attempted to ban the swimwear from public beaches, but such bans were eventually overturned by France’s highest administrative court, who claimed the bans, “seriously, and clearly illegally, breached the fundamental freedoms to come and go, the freedom of beliefs and individual freedom.”

Another major issue has been the practise of Muslims praying on city streets, often in protest. Last year in the Paris suburb of Clichy, Muslims were removed from a building where they had set up a mosque despite not owning or having a valid lease on the property.

In protest, the Muslims decided to pray in the street instead and were met with counter-protests late last year from members of the conservative Republican Party, who confronted the Muslims while loudly singing the French national anthem.

 Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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