France is off the hook over vexing Islam-compliant lunch

France is off the hook over vexing Islam-compliant lunch

An official luncheon due to be hosted on Tuesday by French President François Hollande for Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani became mired in controversy when Tehran reportedly insisted that only halal meat and no wine be served.

According to this report, Tehran made the faux pas (in the French view) of insisting that President Hollande’s chefs follow Muslim dietary rules and serve only halal meat and no alcohol at the event.

There must be no champagne or wine at the planned lunch, even for the non-Muslim hosts, the Iranians told French diplomats organising the luncheon.

The French offered a face-saving breakfast instead, but their Iranian counterparts dismissed this as “too cheap”, according to RTL radio, which broke the story. When no compromise was found, the French simply called off the proposed lunch at the President’s Élysée Palace.

France’s rising far-right National Front, which looks set to score some important victories in regional elections next month, would have branded any concession by Hollande as another sign of the “Islamisation” they say the country is having to endure.

The row looked as if it might cast a shadow over Rouhani’s first first official visit to Paris, part of a tour to mark Iran’s return to the international community after it agreed with world powers in July to curb its nuclear programme.

But, following Friday’s horrific Muslim terror attacks in Paris, Rouhani, according to this report, has decided to stay at home “to fight terrorism”.

Announcing the change in travel plans, Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said:

It is better now to focus on fighting terrorism and President Rouhani’s trip to Europe will happen in near future.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

27 responses to “France is off the hook over vexing Islam-compliant lunch”

  1. Tim Danaher says:

    Good for Hollande… And, in related news, the Las Iguanas restaurant chain in the UK is now halal, because non-halal would ‘discourage potential customers’, so, no more chorizo en vino Tinto, no more cerdo con judias negras… And no more Tim as a customer…

  2. Broga says:

    Next move: compulsory FGM for all young girls including non Muslims.

  3. Lucy1 says:

    Well done M Hollande

  4. Angela_K says:

    When in Rome and all that, except for Muslims who believe the World must kowtow to their demands. It’s not as if Hollande was going to force feed this intolerant Islamist. Rouhani could have ignored the alcohol and just eaten the veg.

  5. Barry Duke says:

    And here’s another reason to shun the chain, Tim.

  6. L.Long says:

    I don’t like XXXX so you can do XXXX! or else!!!
    Can you even say tolerance, much less spell it????
    So you intolerant aholes expect us to be tolerant of your BS!!!
    Well there is a 7 letter phrase that starts with F and ends in F!!!

  7. Cooper S says:

    Fuck him …

  8. Cali Ron says:

    Let ’em eat cake. I’ll have the bacon and a pint of stout!

  9. Cali Ron says:

    Barry Duke: Taking the wait staffs tips is low even by corporate standards. There ought to be a law against that.

  10. Vanity Unfair says:

    These things are normally negotiated by Embassy staff and civil servants in private without the principals being involved. The Embassy sends a list of the president’s allergies, intolerances and religious preferences then the Elysee replies with a suggested menu taking these into account and also the requirements of the host. After a couple of exchanges everything is fixed.
    So, why has this been made public?
    One side or the other must have a hidden reason for disrupting the meeting but I suppose we shall never know.

  11. Vanity Unfair says:

    To Cali Ron:
    Bacon and stout? No, beef and stout, bacon and cider.
    Will I ever understand US American tastes?

  12. Cali Ron says:

    American’s are not known for good taste. I mean, we gave the world McDonalds and Starbucks, the lowest common denominator. I do agree though that a stout goes well with beef.

  13. Laura Roberts says:

    Incredible. The answer seems so simple: in the interest of diplomacy (even though you’re a guest in our country and as such, shouldn’t be making demands) we will be exceptionally nice hosts and provide you with whatever food your religion demands of you, provided it doesn’t violate any of our laws. But we eat what we want, because we don’t follow your religion. Oh, and because it’s our goddamn party, bitch.

    How hard can that be??

    @CaliRon: definitely agree on McDonalds but we should add Budweiser and MGD to that list.

  14. Dave H says:

    All atheists and freethinkers should be vegan.

  15. John C says:

    Dave H ,are you trying to convert atheists back to religion with statements like that?

  16. Cali Ron says:

    Laura Roberts: Good point. American corporate brand beers are all swill. Thankfully Americans (especially here in California) are embracing craft beers of all types. Hurrah!

    Sorry Dave H, I’m a freethinker and a free-eater. Being at the top of the food chain gives me almost unlimited options and I prefer to sample as many as I can.

  17. barriejohn says:

    Maybe someone, someday, will be able to explain satisfactorily just why the religious feel that EVERYONE should be obliged to follow the dictates of their own particular faith.

  18. Stuart H. says:

    I wonder what happens when the French give a lunch to the Saudis though. The fact that we heard about the Iran tiff suggests that some French politicians felt they had potential NF voters to appease. As in UK, the fact that we don’t even hear about what the French government do when the arms trade want to flog more aircraft and torture equipment suggests that what Saudis want, Saudis get – including a snub of regional opponents over Syria’s future.

  19. Peter Sykes says:

    Cali Ron:
    So you claim to be top of the food chain and this justifies death and slaughter of anything you want to eat. Well the religious nutters claim to be top the ideas chain and use your argument to justify death and slaughter. Pathetic. Well said Dave H.

  20. nogbad666 says:

    I wonder whether the French insisted that any women in the Iranian party should not wear headscarves – and what would have happened if they had.

  21. nogbad666 says:

    I imagine a conversation to make the lunch arrangements:
    French official: We would like to discuss the arrangements for the lunch
    Iranian official: Splendid. We love your French cuisine, but it must be halal.
    FO: Fine, we can agree to that.
    IO: And no alcohol.
    FO: No wine will be offered to the Iranian guests.
    IO: No, I mean no wine at the lunch at all, for anybody.
    FO: Oh, I see. But can’t you just ignore the wine?
    IO: No, if it’s there we might be tempted to try a drop, especially if it’s a good Chateau, and if we try a drop then… Well you know how it goes.
    FO: But we could keep the wine off the table, at the waiters’ station…
    IO: But we might still catch a glimpse of it and think unislamic thoughts. Like if we see a woman’s ankle, or a piece of hair.. Now look what you’ve done, you’ve given me a boner.
    FO: Well we can’t have that at the lunch
    IO: Why not?
    FO: Several of our waiters are gay – they might get the wrong idea.
    IO: The lunch is cancelled. Allah u akhbar.

  22. jay says:

    @ Cali Ron

    We evolved as omnivores, with substatial meat in our diet (as did a large portion of the planet’s animal population). The high energy and protein content of meat enabled the evolution of the highly energy dependent human brain.

    ‘Thanks’ to the high efficiencies of food production and transport (product of that brain), you vegans can survive on sufficient nutrition in a level that wasn’t even possible in most of the world before the agricultural and industrial revolutions. In much of the world there are few plants that humans can digest, but plenty of native animals that CAN eat these plants.

    Do what your want, but ultimately biology wins.

  23. Cali Ron says:

    Someone is confused here. I have been chastised for eating meat by Dave H and Peter Sykes, yet jay seems to think I’m a vegan. This post is so late nobody will probably read it, but for the record I’m an eat and let eat person who thinks you should eat whatever you want to eat. If your concern for animals or the environment cause you to espouse a different diet so be it, but don’t try to force it on anyone else or your just proselytizing to others how they should eat like the religious proselytize to others how they should believe.

  24. Stephen Mynett says:

    Not as late as you think Ron. I too was a tad perplexed by your supposed dietary anomalies. I also agree with you, although personally go for free range eggs and meat from farmers I know but that is not difficult when you live in the country – the humane factor if one thing and taste definitely another.

    I had a debate with my friends a few years ago when one of the possibilities for my problem was a leg amputation. I have often read that human meat tastes like pork and as it would have been my leg felt that as long as there were no health issues I should have been given the chance to tuck in. Reactions varied from total disgust to agreement and made for an interesting evening.

  25. Cali Ron says:

    Stephen Mynett: Thanks for assuring me it wasn’t just me. I usually check old comments for late posts, but never know if anyone else does. I live near Sacramento and it calls itself the “farm to fork” capital and actually lives up to that to a large degree, So whenever possible I try to eat local and healthy, but stop short of the militant foodie crowd who are checking everyone else’s plate. My mom was raised on a farm, where I spent many an hour and I also worked at a turkey processing plant for 3 years in my youth so I don’t get sentimental about animals except for my pets.

    I found your leg story very amusing. That leg could have been good for a few meals and an instantaneous weight loss, but I’m glad you are hanging onto it.

  26. Stephen Mynett says:

    Cali Ron, while I am sure some of it is psychological food always tastes better if you have seen it grown. I have been lucky in that we always had a good sized garden, my parents house is on a council estate but right on a bend, so instead of the normal one strip of land at the back the geography of the area ensured we had the equivalent of two strips.
    Things like carrots, peas and beans I enjoy as much raw as I do cooked, plus many of us argue it can be healthier. Pulling a carrot from the ground and then just pulling in through the thumb and finger to clean it left bits of dirt but nothing nasty and it gave us natural antigens. In the time I was away I seemed to get far more colds and bugs and put it down to the less healthy irradiated and sterilised supermarket veg I was stuck with. Gloucestershire is quite a good part of the world for immunology, had I been born a couple of hundred years before one of my near(ish) neighbours would have been Edward Jenner.