A French fast food chain's decision to serve only halal meat in eight restaurants with a strong Muslim clientele has sparked a wave of criticism from politicians decrying the step as unacceptable.
A far-right leader said the 350-branch Quick chain was imposing "an Islamic tax" on its customers. A Socialist mayor has threatened a law suit for discrimination against customers who do not want to eat according to Muslim dietary laws.
The uproar, like France's drive to ban Muslim face veils and its state-led debate on national identity, has come just ahead of regional elections next month even though Quick began what it calls a six-month marketing test in late November.
The 5.5 billion euro ($7.46 billion) halal market in France is growing strongly, according to a survey in December 2009, citing increasing demand among young Muslims for halal produce.