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France Bans Muslim Students From Wearing ‘Abaya’ in Schools

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France has announced a ban on Muslim students from wearing the abaya(an Islamic robe) on the grounds that the clothing contravenes the nation’s secular-based education. 

“When you walk into a classroom, you shouldn’t be able to identify the pupils’ religion just by looking at them,” stated the French Education Minister, Gabriel Attal, over the weekend.

"Secularism means the freedom to emancipate oneself through school," he said, describing the abaya as "a religious gesture, aimed at testing the resistance of the Republic towards the secular sanctuary that school must constitute," Attal added. 

The ban will come into force on September 4. 

The French government has already banned headscarves and the wearing of full-face veils in public schools, citing similar reasoning. 

The prohibition of religious symbols does not merely apply to Islam as Christian symbols, such as crosses, have been banned in French schools since the 19th century.


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