Authorities have been instructed not to penalise Muslims who violate the mandatory curfew during Ramadan.
Police and gendarmes in Tarn, France, were informed in an internal communication that the prefecture would allow Muslim believers to remain on the streets after 7pm in the evening during Ramadan despite the curfew. The rationale being that during the month of devotion, Muslims can only take food and drink after sunset, and are encouraged to take alms to family members and those in need.
Under current regulations, there is a curfew in effect between 7 pm and 6 am, and a maximum of six people can gather in public places.
A member of the gendarmerie told Le Journal d’Ici portal that he had concerns regarding the exemption as they were not given any specifics on what to do if they came across a larger than permitted gathering.
A police officer had similar qualms about the new policy. As he put it, he does not know how to ascertain whether a person controlled on the street during the curfew is Muslim, Jewish, Protestant or Catholic.
The prefecture is also considering making exemptions for Muslims in the morning as the time of the first prayer is at half past five. In order for religious observers to be able to participate in this, they could be exempted from the curfew starting at five o’clock.
Regarding the concessions, the prefecture stated that the instructions mainly applied to associations and mosques, noting that restaurants and catering companies are still permitted to deliver food to homes even after the curfew has begun.