France: Sports shop nixes headscarf sales amid backlash

By Yusuf Ozcan

PARIS (AA) – Facing an Islamophobic backlash, a major French sports gear retailer has cancelled plans to sell sports headscarves in its stores.

"We are making the decision… to not market this product in France at this time," Xavier Rivoire, communication director for the Decathlon chain, said Tuesday, citing "a wave of insults" and "unprecedented threats" targeting this retailer.

After it had announced it would offer the headscarves, some Decathlon staff had faced insults and threats.

"It’s a vision of women that I don’t share. I would prefer if a French brand did not promote the headscarf," French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn told French media.

"My choice as a woman and citizen will be to no longer trust a brand which breaks with our values," French politician Aurore Berge had said on Twitter, where she suggested boycotting Decathlon.

Francois Bayrou, the head of the French Democratic Movement had told TV channel LCI that Decathlon selling headscarves would be “a bit provocative.”

Decathlon said on Twitter that it had received more than 500 calls and e-mails, insults, and physical threats over headscarves and urged calm, saying its decision was no place for insults or threats.