Activists of the Observatory of the Secularism in Paris’s no-go suburbs have expressed outrage after police took the side of a Muslim woman illegally wearing a full-face veil following an altercation.
The incident took place earlier this month at the forum of associations in the troubled Paris suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis. According to the pro-secularism activists, a Muslim man and a woman in full-face veil confronted them half an hour before the end of the event, Le Point reports.
The president of the secularist group said that one member took a photograph of the woman wearing the full-face veil, the wearing of which has been against the law in France since 2012.
The couple is then said to have had a “violent reaction” to the photograph being taken and “tore the phone away” from the hands of the activist after demanding the photos be deleted.
“A quarter of an hour later, the couple returned, escorted by two municipal policemen,” the association said. He added that the Muslim individuals accused the activist who took photos of assault. The police officer then told the secularist to delete the photographs.
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Chairman of the secularist group André Gomar expressed outrage over the incident. “I would like someone to explain to me how municipal agents have helped people who are violating the law! In addition, we were all searched before entering the site, but this woman returned without problem. While she was in clear violation of the law,” Mr Gomar said.
The mayor’s office of Saint-Denis later commented on the incident claiming the members of the secularist group were drunk and had insulted the couple. The spokesman also noted the police offers were municipal police and did not have full police authority.
Seine-Saint-Denis is well-known across France as being a hotbed for Salafism, a radical ideology within Islam. The department has produced several Islamist terrorists, including the Champs-Élysées terrorist Karim Cheurfi who killed a police officer in 2017.
The area is also known for their high illegal migrant population, with as many as 400,000 illegals living in the various suburbs north of Paris.