Threat to cafe owner over Hebdo sign
A London coffee shop owner today vowed he would not back down after receiving death threats for displaying a ‘Je suis Charlie’ sign outside his cafe.
The London Evening Standard reports that Adel Defilaux, a French-born Muslim, was terrified when a man stormed into The Antishop in Brick Lane, East London, at 9.30am yesterday.
The intruder demanded that M Defilaux take down the sandwich board featuring the slogan that has become a rallying cry in support of the 12 victims of Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.
But when Defilaux, 32, calmly protested the man became aggressive and warned that anyone who supported the French satirical magazine should die.
Defilaux, who is originally from Marseille but has lived in London for five years, said:
He came in very aggressively and he told me to remove the sign. I asked him why and he said his community was offended by it and said if I didn’t remove it something bad was going to happen.
I told him I was Muslim myself and I wanted to talk gently with him and I said people can’t kill journalists for expressing themselves.
I calmly explained to him that what he was saying was not the reality of Islam. I thought I could calm him down, but it had the opposite effect. He went crazy.
He said ‘I believe these people deserve to be killed and anyone supporting them deserves also to be killed. I was all alone and started getting scared. He was a dangerous person. He said if I didn’t take down the sign he would smash up the shop, and then he just left.
Defilaux said he had put up the sign to support everyone in France and had received no complaints from anyone else.
I get on with all the community here. We are opposite a mosque and all my neighbours are Muslim and no one else has had a problem with the sign. These fanatics believe in the wrong stories and have no shame in attacking people.
But he said he would not give in to the threat and would continue to display the sign in the café, where he offers barista training and free coffees to the homeless.
I feel weak by myself with my little café trying to fight against him but I won’t let him do what he wants. I’m a Muslim like him and if I want to support Charlie Hebdo I will do it. I don’t want to let him win.
Defilaux described the man who made the threats as Asian, in his 30s, and wearing a grey sweater and scarf and blue jeans.
• Picture: Nigel Howard