French Muslim in Long Skirt Barred from School

CAIRO – A Muslim student has been denied entry to her French school for wearing a full-length skirt which was deemed too openly religious.

“Yes, my daughter, who is Franco-Portuguese and from a Catholic family, has converted to Islam,” Marie-Christine de Sousa, the girl’s mother, told the Nouvel Obs newspaper, The Local.fr reported on Friday, May 6.

“I’ve always supported her choices and decisions. Earlier this year, I allowed her to wear the veil, which she takes off before going into the school. She wears long dresses for school.”

The 16-year-old student at Seine-et-Marne school, in the outer suburbs of Paris, was sent home this week after her headmaster took a dislike to her skirt.

The headmaster reportedly deemed that the skirt “conspicuously” showed religious affiliation, which is banned in schools by France’s strict secularity laws.

The family of the girl, who reverted to Islam a year ago, is already planning legal action, the paper reported.

However, she will still have to find something to wear to school instead of her black H&M skirt.

In 2004, France banned Muslims from wearing hijab, an obligatory code of dress, in public places and schools.

France also outlawed the wearing of face-veil in public in 2011.

Yet, the length of a school skirt and its color fit into the context of the law remains a mystery.

A similar incident rocked France in April last year when a girl with a long skirt was also barred from class.

Her story trended on Twitter across France with the hashtag #JePorteMaJupeCommeJeVeux, translated into English as “I wear my skirt as I please.”

Some suggested that long black skirts were nothing out of the ordinary provided they’re worn by non-Muslims.

“Wearing a long skirt is nothing ostentatious. This is more due to mass hysteria,” Abdallah Zekri, president of the National Observatory against Islamophobia, said at the time.

The CCIF Islamophobia watchdog said this week that some 177 students were rejected from class in 2015 for outfits deemed too openly religious.