France to Bans Abaya Dresses in Schools, Citing Secular Laws

French Education Minister, Gabriel Attal, has announced that the wearing of abaya dresses by Muslim women in schools will be banned, citing the violation of France's strict secular laws in education. This decision follows months of debate and tensions surrounding the issue of abaya dresses in French schools.

Education Minister Gabriel Attal declared that wearing abaya dresses will no longer be permitted in schools. He stated that he would provide clear guidelines to school administrators at the national level before the upcoming return to classes on September 4.

This ban comes in the context of France's existing ban on wearing religious symbols in schools, including the Islamic headscarf. Abayas, a long and loose-fitting garment worn for modesty according to Islamic beliefs, had not faced an outright ban until now. However, they were included in a group of clothing items that could be banned if worn to openly display a religious affiliation.

The debate over banning abayas in schools had divided opinions along political lines. The right-wing and far-right factions supported the ban, while the left argued it could infringe on civil liberties. Some union leaders welcomed the announcement, while others, including the left-wing opposition, criticized it as "policing of clothing" and an unconstitutional move.

The ban on abayas is seen as part of France's commitment to secularism, aiming to prevent religious affiliations from being displayed in educational institutions. 

The debate over religious symbols intensified after the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty, who showed caricatures of Prophet Mohammed to students. Gabriel Attal's announcement marks a significant step in his role as Education Minister and is seen as a reflection of France's ongoing efforts to uphold its secular values.


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