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France bans ‘abaya’ clothing in public schools

Attal described the abaya as “a religious gesture, aimed at testing the resistance of the republic toward the secular sanctuary that school must constitute. Photo: France 24

France will no longer condone the use of the loose-fitting, full-length robe commonly used by Muslim females in state-run schools.

Education Minister, Gabriel Attal, who made the announcement on national television, said, “It will no longer be possible to wear an abaya at school”.

Mr Attal said he would give “clear rules at the national level” to school heads ahead of the return to classes nationwide from September 4.

“You enter a classroom, you must not be able to identify the religion of the students by looking at them,” he said.

In March, 2004, the wearing of signs or outfits by which students ostensibly show a religious affiliation in schools was outlawed, which include; large crosses, Jewish kippas and Islamic headscarves.

Writing by Muzha Kucha; Editing by Daniel Adejo and Tony Okerafor