In a major policy shift, France has announced it will ban the wearing of Islamic abayas in state-run schools. The country's Education Minister, Gabriel Attal, confirmed this decision during an interview with TF1 television.
The abaya, a loose-fitting, full-length robe worn by some Muslim women, will no longer be permitted in classrooms across France. This move has sparked heated debates about religious freedom and secularism within the country's education system.
Attal stated that the new rule is intended to ensure the neutrality of public spaces and to protect students from any form of religious influence. He emphasized that state-run schools should remain secular environments where children can learn and grow without religious pressure.
However, the decision has attracted criticism from various quarters. Left-wing opposition parties and several human rights groups have voiced their concerns, calling the ban a 'policing of clothing.' They argue that it infringes upon individual rights and freedoms.
This is not the first time France has implemented such policies. The country has a long history of enforcing laws aimed at maintaining its secular identity. In 2004, France banned religious symbols, including headscarves, in public schools. In 2010, it became the first European country to ban the full-face veil in public.
The latest ban on abayas in state-run schools is set to add another layer to the ongoing debate about secularism versus religious freedom in France. As the news spreads, it continues to generate a range of reactions both domestically and internationally.