A 60-year-old female lawyer ripped a Muslim woman’s Islamic veil off during a row in what French police described as the first known case of ‘burqa rage.’

The astonishing scene unfolded in a clothes shop in France when the pair came to blows before being arrested. It came as racial tensions grow over of the country’s plans to introduce a total ban on burqas and other forms of religious dress which cover the face.

The 26-year-old Muslim convert was walking through the store in Trignac, near Nantes, in the western Loire-Atlantique region, when she overhead the lawyer making ‘snide remarks about her black burqa’.

A police officer added: ‘The lawyer said she was not  happy seeing a fellow shopper wearing a veil and wanted the ban introduced as soon as possible.’ At one point the lawyer, who was out with her daughter, is said to have likened the Muslim woman to Belphegor – a horror demon character well known to French television viewers.

The lawyer’s use of the name ‘Belphegor’ was particularly inflammatory, said police, because the demon was portrayed by classical writers as ‘Hell’s ambassador to France’.

Belphegor, who hates human beings, is usually portrayed as a monstrous demon with horns and pointed nails, but frequently disguises himself. (Sounds just like a Muslim to me)

Police said the incident was still being investigated, and that charges could follow.(Watch them put the lawyer in jail for a “hate crime”)

A ‘shouting argument’ started in the store before the older woman is said to have ripped the other woman’s veil off. As they came to blows on Saturday afternoon, the lawyer’s daughter joined in, with the three women clashing.

A spokesman for Trignac police said that ‘two complaints had been received’, with the Muslim woman accusing the lawyer of racial and religious assault. The latter, in turn, had accused her opponent of common assault.

The French parliament has adopted a formal motion declaring burqas and other forms of Islamic dress to be ‘an affront to the nation’s values’.

Some have accused criminals of wearing veils to disguise themselves. This includes everything from terrorists to minor shop lifters. A ban, which could be introduced as early as autumn, would make France the second country after Belgium to outlaw the Islamic veil in public places.

But many have criticised the anti-burqa lobby, which includes President Nicolas Sarkozy, for stigmatising Muslim housewives. UK DAILY MAIL