Head-to-toe robes worn by Muslims, known as abayas for girls and women and khamis for boys and men, have been banned from France’s public school classrooms beginning Monday.
As Breitbart News reported, the move was flagged last week when Education Minister Gabriel Attal told France’s TF1 TV that religious garb has no place in the classroom, declaring the garment breached France’s strict secular laws in education.
“When you walk into a classroom, you shouldn’t be able to identify the pupils’ religion just by looking at them,” Attal said, adding: “I have decided that the abaya could no longer be worn in schools.”
He said he would give “clear rules at the national level” to school heads ahead of the return to classes nationwide from September 4 to enforce the end of Islamic dress on school grounds.
Muslim Groups to Sign French Islam Values Charter After Months of Resistance https://t.co/Hd1HT7Q8DA
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French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne on Sunday rejected any accusation of unfair treatment with the introduction of this ban as the move was confirmed 24-hours ahead of classes resuming.
“I can see that there is manipulation and attempts at provocation on the part of some. I’m thinking in particular of LFI (La France Insoumise or France Unbowed – a French left-wing political party),” Borne said in an interview with French radio network RTL.
“But I want to state things very clearly: there is no stigmatisation. Every one of our fellow citizens, whatever their religion, has their place in our country,” she said.
“There is one principle: secularism. And there’s a law prohibiting the wearing of any sign or garment by which a student manifests his or her religious affiliation. This law must be applied to everyone, and we’ll make sure that it is properly applied,” said Borne.
President Emmanuel Macron addressed the dress code for the first time after visiting a professional school in the Vaucluse region of southern France.
“We know there will be cases” of students testing the rule, the president said, including ones trying to “defy the republican system”. Macron said they would not be able to slip into class, stressing that “we will be intractable on the subject.”
Ordering how the new measure would be enforced, Macron said “specific personnel” would be sent to “sensitive” schools to help principals and teachers and to initiate dialogue with students and families, if needed.
FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP contributed to this report