French Police Instructed to Bend Lockdown Rules for Muslims During Ramadan: Report

Muslim worshippers pray on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan on April 13, 2021, a

Police and gendarmes in the French department of Tarn have reportedly been instructed to not give out warnings or fines to Muslims breaking Wuhan coronavirus curfew during Ramadan.

Officers have allegedly been instructed by the Tarn prefecture not to hand out warnings or fines to Muslims who travelling until 10 p.m. at night and from 5 a.m. in the morning as they go for prayers.

Currently, mainland France is under a curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., according to the French government website, which lists several exemptions such as work or walking a pet within one kilometre of a residence — but does not list any specific religious exemptions.

According to a report from the newspaper Le Journal d’Ici, police officials in Tarn were informed earlier this week by internal email that “practitioners are authorized by the prefecture to dispense alms (resulting in the delivery of food to friends, families…).”

The internal emails also noted that the breaking of Ramadan fast in the evening ” is potentially likely to generate gatherings on public roads or in the vicinity of mosques.”

Local police spoke with the newspaper expressing concern with the move, with one officer saying he did not know how to really prove those on the street were Muslim, Jewish, or Christian.

“It doesn’t tell us what we need to do in practice if we come across a grouping greater than the authorized gauge of six people, during the curfew. Should we close our eyes? As usual, this inaccuracy forces us to interpret as best we can,” one officer said.

Frédéric Roussel, the Tarn prefecture’s chief of staff, said the announcement largely applied to associations and mosques, noting that current rules allow home delivery of food and other goods by restaurants and other companies.

The emails come a  year after a leaked police memo in the department of Calvados asked local police only to intervene in serious crimes during Ramadan.

“Unless there is a risk of harm to persons or serious damage to property (damage by means dangerous for people, buildings, or vehicles), there is no need to intervene in neighbourhoods with a high concentration of populations following Ramadan, to raise a fuss, or to impose controls on groups of people gathered after sunset to eat,” the note said.

The concessions were criticised by police union secretary Fabien Vanhemelryck, who said it was proof the government had instructed police not to go into certain areas.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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