France to ban Islamic dress in schools 

France is slated to ban an Islamic garment traditionally worn by some Muslin women from its state-run schools, according to the French education minister.

Education Minister Gabriel Attal said during an interview with French TV channel TF1 that the abaya — the full-length robes worn by some Muslim women — will be banned from schools, Reuters reported. This is just the latest steps the French government has taken in curtailing Islamic dress in public.

“I have decided that the abaya could no longer be worn in schools,” Attal said in the interview.

“When you walk into a classroom, you shouldn’t be able to identify the pupils’ religion just by looking at them,” he said.

In 2004, France banned students from wearing headscarves in its schools, as well as other religious symbols, including large-crosses and Jewish kippahs. It also banned people from wearing face veils in public in 2011.

The country has had a decades-long battle with secularism, as Muslim headscarves took center stage during France’s latest presidential campaign season. French President Emmanuel Macron’s rival in the 2022 election campaigned on banning headscarves from the country all-together, prompting outrage from Muslim women who questioned why the headscarf was being discussed in politics.

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