Two women wearing hijabs were thrown out of a Paris restaurant in tears after being verbally abused by a member of staff. The incident at the Le Cenacle restaurant in Tremblay-en-France was captured on a mobile phone by one of the women who secretly recorded the incident as it unfolded on Saturday (28 August).
The women are seen sitting at a table where they were initially offered glasses of water, before a man, thought to be a manager of the restaurant, emerged from the kitchen and launched into an abusive tirade.
He confronts the two women telling them: "I don't want people like you in my place, I'll make that clear". Maintaining their composure the women respond calmly saying: "We don't want to be served by racists."
The man continues saying: "Racists like me don't kill good people. Racists like me."
"Because we have placed bombs sir?" the woman answers.
"Madame, terrorists are Muslims, and all Muslims are terrorists. Analyse my words, you'll see that they're right," he says. Alluding to the murder of French priest Father Jacques Hamel by IS supporters Adel Kermiche and Abdel-Malik Petitjean, at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, the manager says: "They killed a priest recently OK?"
Continuing his rant he says: "I'm living in a secular country and this is my opinion." Raising his voice again he shouts: "It seems like you didn't understand. Now get out!"
The women get up and leave in tears. The restaurateur – who has not been named – later apologised for his conduct when he was confronted by a group outside the restaurant, the Mirror Online reports.
He accepted the situation got "out of hand" and said he regretted the verbal altercation with the women. He claimed he had been riled by recent tensions surrounding the burkini ban and had also been reacting emotively having lost a friend who had died at the Bataclan concert centre attack in November 2015, Le Parisien reported.
The video which has since gone viral has prompted Laurence Rossignol, the Women's Rights minister, to call for a full enquiry by the Inter-ministerial Delegation into Racism and anti-Semitism (DILCRA). Rossignol called for sanctions against the "the unacceptable behaviour of this restaurant owner."
The incident comes after a woman was surrounded by police on a Nice beach and ordered to remove her burkini. The image sparked global outrage and resulted in the controversial measure, which prevents women wearing Islamic looking swimsuits, being overturned by a Paris appeal court on grounds of civil liberties.
Reacting to the removal of the two hijab-wearing women from the restaurant, French anti-Islamophobia organisation CCIF said that "following the umpteenth Islamophobic incident which... led to the humiliation of two young Muslim women" its director would be speaking outside the local mosque on Sunday (28 August) evening, reports BBC News.
The CCIF, which says it is offering legal and psychological support to the two young women, appealed for no protests outside the restaurant itself. The local prosecutors' office confirmed it has opened an investigation into racial discrimination.