France Ban Muslim Students From Wearing Abaya Dress To School

French authorities on Monday, September 4, 2023, ensured strict compliance as it bans Muslim women/girls from wearing Abaya dress in schools.

Naija News understands that the newly announced ban in France has seen over 500 establishments under scrutiny as children across the country returned to class just recently.

The government had announced last month it was banning the abaya in schools, saying the dress violates the rules on secularism in education that have already seen Muslim headscarves banned on the grounds they constitute a display of religious affiliation.

The move gladdened the political right, but the hard left argued it represented an affront to civil liberties.

“Things are going well this morning. There is no incident for the moment; we will continue all day to be vigilant so that the students understand the meaning of this rule,” French Media quoted Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said as she visited a school in northern France on Monday.

Borne observed that despite the ban, there was a certain number of schools where girls had arrived wearing an abaya.

“Some young girls agreed to remove it. For the others, we will have discussions with them, and use educational approaches to explain that there is a law that is being applied,” she added.

The hard left has accused the government of centrist President Emmanuel Macron of trying with the abaya ban to compete with Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally and shifting further to the right.

Education Minister, Gabriel Attal, was said to have told RTL radio that authorities had identified 513 schools that could be affected by the ban at the start of the school year.

Naija News understands that there are around 45,000 schools in France, with 12 million pupils going back to school on Monday.

He said work had been done ahead of the start of the school year to see in which schools this could present a problem, adding that trained school inspectors would be placed in certain schools.

Attal, however, said he was against imposing a ban on parents wearing clothes that had religious significance when they accompanied their children on school outings.

There is a difference between what happens in school and what happens outside school. What matters to me is what happens in school,” he said.

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