A woman in France was wearing the niqab-- that leaves all but the eyes covered in contravention of a French law passed in 2010 law banning wearing any face-covering veil in public. Don't write a law that you won't enforce. Because everyone will know you are full of it and anything and everything you attempt to do will be treated with the scorn and derision you so richly deserve.
French police injured in row over burka Telegraph
Police unions in France are furious after three officers were injured trying to check the identity of a woman flouting the country's burka ban and who was later released to "appease tensions during Ramadan".A woman wearing a black veil Photo: ALAMY
The officers ordered the 18-year-old called Marie-Louise to produce her identity card around midnight outside a mosque in the southern French city of Marseille, which has a large Muslim population.
She was wearing the niqab that leaves all but the eyes covered in contravention of a 2010 law banning wearing any face-covering veil in public.
The woman refused, saying: "I don't obey the laws of the French Republic" and allegedly bit one of the officers. Scuffles then broke out with around 50 people present including the woman's partner. Three officers were lightly injured.
Reinforcements arrived and four people, including the woman and her partner, were arrested and taken to a police station. But they were released shortly afterwards "in a gesture of appeasement during Ramadan", according to the public prosecutor.
The officers involved, however, now face an administrative inquiry after people present during the incident complained they had used "illegal force"
Police unions were furious. "Nobody can understand how police officers can be attacked…and in the end the people arrested are released before the officers themselves," said David-Olivier Reverdy, of the local Alliance union.
"The niqab, according to laws that we enforce but don't make, is forbidden. We are simply applying the law," he told France Info.
Yannick of the Unité SGP-Police union, said: "This affair underlines the difficulty we have in applying the law. We get the feeling that many would prefer us to shut our eyes to avoid any incidents.
"In short, you can make police checks but don't make waves, otherwise you'll carry the can. It all smacks of hypocrisy and doesn't make police work in the field any easier."
Marseille's deputy mayor Nora Présozi, supported the police, saying: "If we want to avoid an explosive situation, the police must imperatively enforce the law.
"Many women wearing the burka are looking for confrontation with the police. By doing so, they are conveying a poor image of Islam."
But Muslim website aijib.fr claimed the officers were being over zealous as an interior ministry circular advises police not to intervene in or around "places of worship".
Around 300 women have been issued fines of up to 150 euros since the face veil ban took effect on April 1, 2011.
Anyone found guilty of forcing a woman to wear a full veil faces a 30,000-euro fine and a year in prison.
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy who backed the ban described the full veil as a "sign of enslavement".
Police estimate that around 2,000 women among France's five-million strong Muslim population wear the full Islamic veil.