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French Minister of Education Confirms Ban on Abaya in Schools, Over 500 Institutions Targeted


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The French Government Targets Schools in Search of Violations of Abaya Ban

The French Minister of Education has confirmed that over 500 schools are being closely monitored by French authorities to detect any signs of female students violating the newly imposed ban on the abaya. This ban, which was announced last month, is based on the argument that the abaya contradicts the principles of secularism in education, a concept that had already led to the ban of the Islamic headscarf.

Identified Schools and Measures Taken

Education Minister Gabriel Atal has revealed that 513 institutions have been identified as potential areas of concern at the beginning of the academic year. To address this issue, preparations were made prior to the start of the school year, including the appointment of trained school inspectors in certain schools.

French Education System and the Abaya

France has approximately 45,000 schools, and as the new academic year begins, around 12 million students are returning to classrooms. The abaya is a loose-fitting, full-length robe commonly worn by women in various Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African countries.

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Reactions and Criticisms

The ban has sparked criticism and ridicule from human rights groups and religious minorities. However, French conservatives have expressed support for the prohibition. Critics from the left have accused President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government of implementing this ban to compete with the far-right National Rally party led by Marine Le Pen and to adopt a more right-wing agenda.

Clementine Otan, an MP for the far-left “France Proud” party, has condemned the ban as an example of “clothing police” and a manifestation of Islamophobia. Abdallah Zakri, vice-president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, also argued that the decision to ban the abaya is misleading, as it is not a religious garment but a fashion item.

Legal Challenge Against the Ban

A human rights organization in France has challenged the government’s ban on the abaya in schools by filing an appeal with the Council of State, the highest court in the country. The Muslim Rights Movement (ADM), represented by lawyers Vincent Bringarth and William Burdon, claims that the ban infringes upon numerous fundamental freedoms. French President Emmanuel Macron, however, has stated that the government will not back down on the ban and is prepared to take further measures.

Controversial Reactions and Actions

The government’s targeting of Muslims through its statements and policies, including the ban on the abaya, has generated strong reactions and protests. In recent years, there have been raids on mosques and charitable institutions, and the passing of an “anti-separatism” law that imposes broad restrictions on society.

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