A Muslim grocery store owner in France has designated some days for women-only shopping and the others for men-only, infuriating local residents who call it discriminatory.
Now the store, De l'Orient à l'Occidental (From East to West), could face penalties of up to €75,000 (£53,000 ) because the rules are contrary to French law requiring equal treatment of the sexes.
Store owner Jean-Baptiste Michelon, a recent convert to Islam, said restricting men to weekends and women to Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays is a way to respect Muslim demands that unrelated men and women not cross paths, reports the Telegraph.
"It's really for practicing Muslims," Michelon told French news channel BFM-TV. "A man doesn't want to find himself alone with a woman. A woman who comes to buy books here doesn't want to find herself alone with a man, especially out of respect if she is married."
Bordeaux Deputy Mayor Marik Fetouh said it was the first such incident in the town. "Even if this is a very limited phenomenon, it is problematic, not least because it gives a bad image of the Muslim community, which respects 99% of the laws of France."
Naïma Charaï, head of a French equality group, tweeted: "Respect for the republic should be seven days a week."
The sign designating certain days for men and women has been removed, but it wasn't immediately clear if Michelon had changed his policy.