FRANCE – The mayor of the northern city of Roubaix, René Vandierendonck, railed against his local Quick outlet, a fast food chain, over its Nov. 30 decision to remove bacon burgers from its menu and replace them with a version using halal beef and a slice of smoked turkey. “It’s discrimination” against non-Muslim customers, Vandierendonck said.

The mayor has filed charges with justice authorities against Quick for what he says is prejudicial religious catering. He has also lodged a complaint with France’s main antidiscrimination authority on the matter. “Yes to diversity, no to exclusion,” Vandierendonck told Le Monde‘s website last week. “I congratulate Quick for adapting its offer to consumers by providing halal, but it goes too far when they propose only that.”  

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Critics of Vandierendonck point out that Roubaix’s Quick outlet is one of just eight in France to adapt its menu to its predominantly Muslim customers and claim that the controversy, coming after those about Muslim dress and religious symbols, is evidence of a deep prejudice against Islam. “Would there have been all these resounding denunciations had Quick decided to position itself in, say, the biological food niche rather than halal?” asks Muslim consumer blog Al Kanz. “Would thematic Quick menus offering only Mexican or Chinese food make such noise in the media? No, assuredly not.”

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