French Interior Ministry Bans Outdoor Gatherings for End of Ramadan

Muslims pray at The Grande Mosque in Paris on August 21, 2018, as they celebrate the first day of the Islamic Festival of Eid al-Adha. - Muslims across the world are celebrating the annual festival of Eid al-Adha or the festival of sacrifice which marks the end of the Hajj …

The Interior Ministry has ordered prefects across France to ban outdoor gatherings for the Eid celebration that marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Chief of Staff to the Minister of the Interior Pierre de Bousquet de Florian ordered the prefects, who act as representatives of the French state to the nation’s counties, to enforce the Wuhan coronavirus lockdown measures and ensure no outdoor gatherings are permitted.

“No derogation can be tolerated,” Florian said, according to French magazine Le Point.

The Interior Ministry has also told municipalities they cannot rent or allow the use of communal facilities such as gymnasiums or stadiums to Muslim groups during the end of Ramadan, which takes place on May 12th.

The move comes as French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin refused a request from the Grand Mosque of Paris to bend the coronavirus lockdown curfew to allow Muslims to gather to celebrate the Laylat al-Qadr (“The Night of Destiny”) on the 9th of May.

Chems-Eddine Hafiz, the rector of the Grand Mosque, which oversees 400 places of worship across France, had since taken the matter to the French Council of State, the country’s top administrative court.

On Thursday, the Council of State rejected Mr Hafiz’s request, stating that the health situation was too much of a concern to grant permission to violate the curfew rules.

“The health situation remains worrying, with indicators still deteriorating and a rate of spread of the virus that remains high throughout the territory,” the court said, adding it would be difficult for police and other officials to determine whether those out during curfew hours were participating in the religious observance, or were taking advantage of the exemptions.

“It would be very difficult for the authorities to ensure that all travel on the night of the 8th to the 9th of May, excluding compelling reasons, is linked to the ‘Night of Destiny,'” the Council of State said.

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


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