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French ban Muslim religious clothing from school

Recently appointed French Education Minister Gabriel Attal Associated Press/ Photo by Christophe Ena

French ban Muslim religious clothing from school

French public schools will ban the abaya, a long, loose-fitting dress popular among Muslim women, and the khamis, the male equivalent. Recently-appointed French Education Minister Gabriel Attal announced the ban Sunday and said it will take effect when the school year begins next week. The French conservative party Les Républicains supports the ban, while the more liberal La France Insoumise accuses the government of “obsessional rejection of Muslims.”

Are officials targeting Muslims? French officials may seem to target Muslims with religious restrictions after banning hijabs in 2004, face veils in 2011, and now the abaya. However, French officials have banned nearly all religious symbolism in schools, beginning as far back as the 19th century. For instance, schoolchildren may not wear large Christian crosses or Jewish yarmulkes. Attal said religious symbolism has no place in schools for the sake of “conforming to our principles of secularism and neutrality."

Dig deeper: Read Mindy Belz’s report in WORLD Magazine about the hijab debate in America.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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