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04/20/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Halal Hatred: French Pols Claim Discrimination Over Pork-less Muslim-Friendly Menus

LILLE, France (AP) -- A French town filed a legal complaint Thursday accusing a branch of a mainstream fast food chain of discrimination because it only serves burgers prepared according to Islamic dietary law.

The mayor of the northern town of Roubaix, Rene Vandierendonck, told The Associated Press that he wants the Quick burger restaurant to "propose a new, diversified" menu that satisfies a broader clientele.

Quick is a Belgium-based chain popular in Europe that offers low-priced hamburgers, french fries and other standard fast-food fare. There are Quick restaurants in towns all over France.

The Quick restaurant in Roubaix is among seven in France that since November have been serving halal-only food. Burgers once served with bacon now come with smoked beef instead of pork.

The company has said the goal of the halal-only restaurants is "to validate the commercial interest and technical feasibility of introducing such a selection of products based on halal meat."

France has western Europe's largest Muslim population, including many families with roots in former colonies in North Africa. There are many restaurants in France that serve halal-only fare, especially in neighborhoods with significant Muslim populations.

Vandierendonck said he did not object to the halal option, simply to the fact that there was no other.

"It's very good that a restaurant like Quick offers halal (meat), but why get rid of what there is everywhere else? The fact that they do not offer other choices to non-Muslim clients is not acceptable."

Halal, meaning "lawful" or "permissible" in Arabic, is a term for food that is prepared according to Islamic dietary law. Animals must be slaughtered following Quranic guidelines and in the name of Allah.

The city of Roubaix filed a discrimination complaint with the regional court in nearby Lille on Thursday. Quick officials did not immediately comment on the complaint, and it was unclear when a court might decide whether or not to hear it.

The case appears to have touched a nerve because Quick is a mainstream chain frequented by French consumers across the country across the ethnic and religious spectrum.