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Saturday, September 30, 2023

French State Schools Spark Debate by Declining Entry to Girls in Muslim Abaya Dress

298 girls mostly wore the prohibited garment

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FRANCE: According to the French education minister, about 300 students appeared to school on Monday wearing the abaya, a long Muslim robe that was prohibited in schools last week.

Most girls, mostly 15 or older, agreed to change into new attire at school. 298 girls, most wearing the prohibited garment, were discussed with school staff in accordance with government guidelines. After a discussion, the majority of girls decided to change and began school.

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67 females were sent home for non-compliance. There will now be another round of discussion with their families. If it doesn’t work, they will be rejected. The government claims the ban has been widely accepted compared to the 12 million schoolboys and girls who started the new academic year.

A legal challenge by an organization representing certain Muslims will be heard in the courts. The new school year in France began on September 4th, and the education minister announced that students would no longer be allowed to attend state-run schools while wearing loose-fitting, full-length robes worn by some Muslim women. In France, religious signs are strictly prohibited in public schools and government structures.

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Headscraf has been banned in state-run schools since 2004 due to debates on the abayas for French schools. Right-wing groups are advocating for a ban, while left-wing groups worry about Muslim women’s rights. The increasing use of the garment in schools has sparked political tensions.

France implemented a ban on full-face veils in public in 2010, angering its five million Muslim citizens. Since the 19th century, France has strictly prohibited religious signs, which includes Christian symbols, from being shown in schools to reduce the Catholic Church’s influence. 

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Abayas have not been outright forbidden until now, but the law has been revised to include the Jewish kippa and Muslim headscarf to reflect the country’s changing demographics.

Also Read: Kairan Quazi: A 14-year-old Boy Set to Join SpaceX as an Engineer


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