World Bulletin / News Desk
A French mayor has revoked the suspension of four Muslim camp counsellors for fasting for Ramadan following an uproar.
Muslim groups warnd they will sue the Paris suburb of Gennevilliers for discrimination for recalling the four after an inspector found on July 20 - the first day of the Muslim holy month - that they were not eating or drinking during the day.
Lawyers for the counsellors, who had accompanied children from the suburb on a town-sponsored stay at a summer camp in southwestern France, said they might also take the issue to a labour court.
Muslim leaders presented the case as an issue of religious liberty, while the town's Communist mayor Jacques Bourgoin insisted his concern was only for the safety of the campers.
"This is a discriminatory act," said Abdallah Zekri of the French Muslim Council told BFM TV. "France has religious liberty, it is a fundamental freedom and it must be respected."
Bourgoin said he revoked the suspensions but he plans to take up again later in the year.
France is home to about 5 million Muslims, Europe's largest Islamic minority.
The clause in the counsellors' contracts requiring regular meals does not mention Muslims, but it clearly applies to them because they are presumably the only ones who would fast now.
Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, said exceptions to the Ramadan fast would normally be made only for pregnant women and ailing persons.
"French Muslims would resent any infringement of this religious liberty," he said in a communique.
"In this period of Ramadan, French Muslims would hope for more calm and comprehension from the national community."Last Mod: 01 Ağustos 2012, 17:29