French authorities have been warned that Muslims could “set fire to the neighbourhood” in one of Paris’s migrant-populated suburbs following a court order to take down a number of tents erected for Ramadan.
An administrative court ordered the tents, which were erected in the commune of Sevran in north-east of Paris, to be taken down as they were placed in a private car park, Le Parisien reports.
The mayor and the Muslim organisers of the tents, which are used to house Muslims praying during the holy month of Ramadan, were given until Tuesday to remove the installations by the court, fueling anger and warnings that the situation could escalate into riots.
If the tents are not removed by the Tuesday deadline, the city could face fines of €2,000 per day.
Mostefa Arar, secretary general of a local association, said: “It has been four years since we installed the tents on this parking lot, at the furthest place from the houses to disturb as little as possible.”
Riots, Cars Burned After Woman Ordered to Remove Full-Face Islamic Veil https://t.co/C23kPbpvzR
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“In all the other neighbourhoods of Sevran donors allow associations to install tents, why should not we have the right to do so?” Arar added and called the court case a “provocation”.
Sevran has a high number of residents with migrant backgrounds, many from Muslim-majority countries. As far back as 2013, it was shown that more than half of the residents of the area, declared a “sensitive urban zone” or ZUS, were from migrant backgrounds.
Riots are not uncommon in Paris’s suburbs and are usually ignited by interactions between locals and the police, as was the case last year when major rioting broke out after a resident named Theo claimed police had purposely inserted a baton into his rectum. Later evidence and expert testimony cast doubt on Theo’s original claim.
A recent incident in Toulouse, where a Muslim woman was told to remove her niqab as they are banned under French law, is said to have potentially sparked rioting in one of the city’s suburbs. Others claimed that the death of a prisoner at a nearby prison may also have been the trigger for the violence.