French restaurant owner fined for refusing entry to veiled Muslim woman

AFP - CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT

A restaurant owner in France’s south-west Basque region has been fined 600 euros for refusing entry to woman wearing an Islamic headscarf, and her son.

A court in the city of Bayonne found the 64-year-old restaurant owner, also a woman, guilty of "discrimination based on religion" for demanding the customer remove her veil.

The incident, which was filmed and posted to social media, took place on Mother’s Day on 29 May.

In the video the restaurant owner, who wore a cross around her neck, said she would not accept customers "dressed like in prehistoric times".

'Humiliated'

The veiled woman’s son, who lodged the complaint with the prosecutor's office in Pau, told the court that he and his mother had felt like “sub-citizens”.

His mother said she had been left “humiliated” when turned away by the restaurant.

“It hurt me enormously. Now I always have this fear when I go to a restaurant,” she told the court.

The restaurant owner, who was born in Spain but holds French nationality, was also ordered to pay 1,300 euros for moral damages suffered by the customer and her son.

She will be made to carry out a citizenship training course "in order to learn the values of the republic".


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