- France to ban abaya in state-run schools, says Education Minister Gabriel Attal.
- The French Council of Muslim Faith says abaya is not a religious sign.
French Education Minister has announced that France will ban the Islamic garment known as the abaya in schools, sparking left-wing criticism for the government’s “obsessive rejection of Muslims.”
Gabriel Attal announced to broadcaster TF1 on Sunday that the government intends to convey “clear rules” on the matter to school officials across the country, The Independent reported.
“I have decided that the abaya could no longer be worn in schools,” Attal said in an interview with TV channel TF1.
“When you walk into a classroom, you shouldn’t be able to identify the pupils’ religion just by looking at them,” he added.
Policing of Clothing
The French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM) said items of clothing alone were not “a religious sign.”
The local media also quoted Clementine Autain of the left-wing opposition France Unbowed party criticizing the “policing of clothing.”
She called Attal’s announcement “unconstitutional”, against the founding principles of France’s secular values, and symptomatic of the government’s “obsessive rejection of Muslims.”
What Muslim women choose to wear is a controversial topic in France.
In 2004, it banned hijab in public schools. Later in 2010, it became the first European nation to ban burqa, which covers women face.
Last year, the French highest court decided to uphold a ban on barristers wearing hijab in courtrooms in Lille.
Also, in France, women wearing a niqab or burqa in public space face a 150 euro fine.