France to ban Muslim abaya dress in state schools

French Education Minister Gabriel Attal

© APA | French Education Minister Gabriel Attal

# 28 August 2023 17:08 (UTC +04:00)

France will ban children from wearing the abaya, the loose-fitting, full-length robes worn by some Muslim women, in state-run schools, its education minister said on Sunday ahead of the back-to-school season, APA reports citing Reuters.

France, which has enforced a strict ban on religious signs in state schools since 19th century laws removed any traditional Catholic influence from public education, has struggled to update guidelines to deal with a growing Muslim minority.

In 2004, it banned headscarves in schools and passed a ban on full face veils in public in 2010, angering some in its five million-strong Muslim community.

"I have decided that the abaya could no longer be worn in schools," Education Minister Gabriel Attal said in an interview with TV channel TF1.

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

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