Judges ruled the prayer halls had been set up illegally, but the official insists that removing them would trigger religious tensions and upset the local Muslim community.
The tents, which serve as makeshift prayer halls during Islam’s holy month, have been a fixture in the Basse council estate in Sevran for 15 years.
They have been set up in a parking lot located on the estate which is owned by the social housing provider Logirep for the past four years.
This year, however, Sevran mayor Stéphane Blanchet “forgot” to officially ask Logirep for the permission to use their parking lot, triggering a legal dispute he warns could anger the local Muslim community.
Last week, an administrative court in Montreuil ruled the Ramadan tents had been set up “illegally” and were a “grave” violation of Logirep’s property rights.
Judges added the town would be fined £1,700 (€2,000) a day if it did not dismantle the tents and reuse the space as a parking lot.
Mr Blanchet told the court that Sevran did not have its own mosque and that taking down the Ramadan tents would “pose a threat to public order”. He then issued a requisition order for the space.
He said: “There is no mosque in Sevran. And while I am not implying that worshippers will turn into rioters, I do fear that many locals will be bitterly disappointed if we remove the tents.
“I refuse to add fuel to the fire.”
Mr Blanchet added the atmosphere in Sevran had been “electric” when local Muslims found out that the court had ruled in Logirep’s favour and ordered officials to demolish the prayer tents.
A social worker told the French daily Le Parisien: “Youths, during Ramadan, don’t smoke and don’t eat, so let’s just say some of them are a little bit on edge. And so if we take away the only place they can go to to pray, clashes will erupt.
Mongi Boubaker, a Sevran local, told France Bleu radio: “Logirep is making a grave mistake: Ramadan is a month of peace for Muslims, and so they should be left in peace.”
Ramadan, which began on the evening of Tuesday May 15 and will end on the evening of Thursday June 14, is the holiest month of the Islamic calendar.
During this month, practicing Muslims abstain from food, drink and sex during daylight hours, a discipline intended to better their souls.