French Top Court Mulls Curfew Exceptions for Ramadan

Muslim worshippers pray during the Friday prayers outside the Avicenne Islamic Cultural centre in Rennes, western France, on April 30, 2021. - The Avicenne centre had its walls painted with Islamophobic graffitis for the second time since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / …

The French Council of State, the country’s top administrative court, is considering giving Muslims an exemption from the Wuhan coronavirus curfew during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The consideration is coming in response to a request made by the Grand Mosque of Paris. Its rector, Chems-Eddine Hafiz, has asked for the curfew to be lifted for five hours between 9 pm and 2 am on the 27th day of Ramadan so Muslims can celebrate the Laylat al-Qadr (“The Night of Destiny”), which is set to take place on the 9th of May.

“This is one of the most [significant] liturgical moments of the Muslim religion,” Mr Hafiz told the court, according to Le Figaro, “because it celebrates the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad”.

The issue has reached the top court after the French Ministery of the Interior denied the request to bend the curfew rules on April 28th.

Hafiz noted that Muslims across France had obeyed the lockdown restrictions imposed by the government and that the Grand Mosque, which oversees 400 places of worship across France, had closed mosques even before the government had officially asked them to.

“We do not question the seriousness of the Muslims of France, but it is not desirable to open these places when there is a general ban in France at night, and there is no proof of the urgent need to go to the mosque for this celebration,” an Interior Ministry spokesman said in response to the court case.

Thomas Andrieu, a member of the Council of State who oversaw the hearing on Tuesday, called for data on the possible health risks of allowing the curfew exemptions. Mr Andrieu is expected to make a ruling on Thursday.

The case comes just weeks after police in the department of Tarn reportedly instructed officers to not give out warnings or fines to Muslims breaking the rules during Ramadan, allowing worshippers to be out until at least three hours after the 7 pm curfew.

A year earlier, the northern department of Calvados saw a similar internal police memo that instructed police officers to limit their interventions to serious crimes during Ramadan to prevent urban violence from breaking out.

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


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