France fines Muslim shopowner for having different opening hours for men and women

BORDEAUX (AFP) - A Muslim shopkeeper has been fined 500 euros (S$762) for ordering different opening hours for men and women at his store in the French city of Bordeaux, his lawyer said on Tuesday (April 26).

Mr Jean-Baptiste Michalon, the owner of a general store who converted to Islam in 2012, created an uproar when he pasted a notice outside his store in June 2015 indicating different shopping hours for men and women.

"Sisters" were invited to shop on Saturdays and Sundays only, while "brothers" were told they could shop on week days.

Mr Michalon quickly abandoned the plan faced with a swell of negative reaction, and his shop has since closed its doors.

"We put this in place at the request of the sisters who preferred when my wife was behind the counter. It is a shop where we sell clothes," Mr Michalon told AFP at the time.

Mr Michalon's lawyer Tristram Heliot told AFP that the shopowner "admitted it was a blunder and tactless".

Politicians slammed the move, as did Bordeaux's chief Imam Tareq Oubrou.

"We never saw this during the time of the Prophet. Markets were mixed. It seems a bit strange to me in a world where social mixing is an established culture," he said.