French Education Minister Gabriel Atal announced – on Sunday – that he would ban the wearing of the “cloak” in French schools, indicating that wearing this Islamic dress is a violation of the strict secular laws applied in the field of education in the country.
“Wearing the abaya in school will no longer be possible,” Atal said during an interview with French TV TF1. And he stressed his endeavor to set “clear rules at the national level” to be followed by school principals before the start of the new academic year in all parts of France, starting from September 4.
When the minister was asked about the issue that has been controversial for months due to incidents related to wearing this dress, Atal revealed that he is seeking, starting next week, to meet with school officials to help them implement this ban. And he stressed that “secularism is the freedom to liberate oneself through school.”
The decision, revealed by the French Minister of Education, comes after months of controversy over the wearing of abayas in French schools, as the authorities have banned the wearing of the Islamic headscarf in public schools since 2004.
It also comes after reports of the increasing wearing of abayas in schools, and the existence of tensions within some schools between teachers and parents in this regard.
Agence France-Presse indicated that the far-right pressed for the issuance of the ban, which the French left saw as an infringement of civil liberties.
France, which has the largest Muslim minority in Europe, banned the Islamic headscarf in public schools in 2004.