Awful Things

Muslim Café Owner Refuses to Remove ‘Je Suis Charlie’ Sign Despite Death Threat

Not backing down.
Not backing down.

Although Adel Defilaux, a French-born café owner in London’s Bangladeshi community of Brick Lane, says his neighbors completely backed his decision to put “Je Suis Charlie” on his shop’s sandwich board, at least one enraged stranger stopped by to talk about the attacks on Charlie Hebdo. “He came in very aggressively and he told me to remove the sign,” Defilaux says. “He said his community was offended by it and said if I didn’t remove it something bad was going to happen.”

Defilaux told the man they actually shared the same faith, but that “what he was saying was not the reality of Islam,” after which he “went crazy.” The man allegedly threatened violence against any Charlie supporters and said he was going to smash the sign, then stormed out. Worried about his staff’s safety, Defilaux called the police, but refused to remove the sandwich board — “I’m a Muslim like him and if I want to support Charlie Hebdo I will do it.”

Police are still after the man, who was caught on the shop’s surveillance footage, and newspapers from Italy to Spain have now told Defilaux’s story. “We have received thousands of messages of support from so many people all around the world,” he says, in a message posted on Facebook. “It is so beautiful to see how many of us are standing up for peace.”

[Evening Standard, Guardian]

Muslim Café Owner Refuses to Remove ‘Je Suis Charlie’ Sign Despite