French govt decides to ban women from wearing Muslim abayas in state-run schools in new academic year

The French government has decided to ban students from wearing abaya, a robe worn by some Muslim women, in state-run schools.

A mannequin wearing an abaya. Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The rule will be implemented as soon as the country's new school year begins on September 4.

"It will no longer be possible to wear an abaya at school," Education Minister Gabriel Attal told TF1 television quoted AFP.

He said he would give "clear rules at the national level" to school heads ahead of the return to classes nationwide from September 4.

The decision was announced after months of debate over the issue.

"Secularism means the freedom to emancipate oneself through school," Attal said, describing the abaya as "a religious gesture, aimed at testing the resistance of the republic toward the secular sanctuary that school must constitute.”

"You enter a classroom, you must not be able to identify the religion of the students by looking at them," he said.

Interestingly, the country's right and far-right had pushed for the ban but lefts argued the move would encroach on civil liberties.

In French state-run schools, wearing a headscarf has been banned since 2004.

C to I News Desk
C to I News Desk – CtoI

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