France will ban students from wearing the abaya, a loose-fitting, floor-length dress worn by some Muslim women, in state schools, the country’s education minister announced on Sunday.
The regulation applies from the start of the new school year in September.
“When you enter a classroom, you shouldn’t be able to tell the religion of the students just by looking at them,” said Education Minister Gabriel Attal France’s TV channel TF1. “I have decided that the abaya can no longer be worn in schools.”
France has also banned it Wearing other religious symbols in schoolsincluding Christian crosses, Jewish kippahs and Muslim headscarves.
But critics say France’s laws have long targeted Muslims, who make up the population largest religious minority Group in France apart from the unaffiliated.
This isn’t the first law France has passed targeting Muslim dress under the country’s laws on the separation of religion and government, also known as laïcité. Earlier this year, French courts upheld a ban on women and girls wear the hijab while playing in the French football circuit. In 2011, wearing a full veil in public was also banned, making France the first country to do so European nation wants to push through a nationwide ban.
It’s not just about clothes. In 2021, France adopted one Anti-Radicalism Bill This would allow the government to monitor mosques, schools and Muslim sports clubs. Muslims are less than The probability of getting a callback is half as high for a job as a Christian with the same qualifications, according to a 2020 study. There were mosques all over the country closed for “separatist‘ and ‘extremist’ ideology.
The government has argued that the laws and policies are necessary to protect the country from terrorist attacks, combat extremism and uphold France’s secular values.
Rim-Sarah Alouane, researcher and Ph.D. The comparative law candidate, who specializes in constitutional law and human rights at the Toulouse Capitole University in Toulouse, France, told HuffPost that the abaya ban is a distraction from critical issues such as inflation, social tensions and problems with the country’s public services country.
“We continue to weaponize secularism. We continue to weaponize part of our population for political reasons,” Alouane said. “And it works. It divides the nation and we don’t need that.”
At least 42% of French Muslims According to a study released by the government in 2019, women reported being discriminated against. For Muslim women who wear the hijab, this figure has skyrocketed: 60% of Muslim women who wear a headscarf say they have been discriminated against at least once.
“People are tired. The people are exhausted. People are drained,” Alouane said. “French Muslims just want to live their lives like literally everyone else. They have problems like everyone else.”
The announcement will raise massive legal concerns, she added, noting that it is impossible to transpose and distinguish an abaya – a loose, robe-like garment worn by some Muslim women – and a dress, which subsequently becomes one Increase in profiling would result.
“French Muslims are not people we need to change. you are french It’s their country as much as it is for others,” Alouane said. “They are fed up with being targeted and discriminated against. They contribute to the fabric of the country. Each time this happens, it leads to more discrimination and threatens our civil liberties.”