Seven branches of Quick, a French chain of fast-food restaurants, have decided to serve only halal food. As they are situated in predominantly Muslim areas, this makes good commercial sense. You would have thought there would be little to upset the authorities in this decision. You would be wrong. The Socialist mayor of Roubaix told La Voix du Nord, a local paper, that while he was not against the restaurant serving halal food, he thought it was going too far by not offering other products. "Yes to diversity, no to exclusion," he thundered. While few things upset a Frenchman as much as an attack on his cultural right to eat saucisson at the drop of a beret, we cannot help thinking that this is not a matter for government.
French authorities are hyper-sensitive about any perceived threat from their growing Muslim population - far more sensitive than they should be. Moreover, Quick's decision really shouldn't concern the French. For a start, no self-respecting Frenchman should be seen eating in a fast-food restaurant, whether it's halal or serving exclusively charcuterie.