French Interior Minister tells police not to arrest Muslim women covering up near mosques

Daily Mail: April 4, 2011

Women wearing burkas in France will face fines – but the areas around mosques will be exempt
Police in France have been warned not to arrest any women wearing Muslim veils ‘in or around’ mosques. The strict instructions, from Interior Minister Claude Guent, are contained in a nine page circular issued to officers prior to a full-blown burka ban coming into force next week.
With tensions running high within the country’s six million strong Muslim community, people have already been warned not to perform ‘citizen’s de-veilings’.
This means that members of the public will not be allowed to take the law into their own hands when they see a woman hiding her features in a public place.
Instead they will have to call the police, who will in turn consider whether the offender should be fined 150 euros. This will apply to all garments which cover the eyes, although scarves, hats, and sunglasses are excluded.
As well as a mosque, Muslims will also be able to put on a veil in the privacy of their own homes, a hotel room, or even a car, as long as they are not driving.
The new ban, which came into effect on April 11, will mean France is officially the second country in Europe, after Belgium, to introduce a full ban on a garment which immigration minister Eric Besson has called a ‘walking coffin.’