France’s top court upholds abaya ban in public schools

The court dismissed the pleas of some people on Thursday, September 7, against the abaya ban decision who claimed the move was discrimination against a particular community and could incite hatred.

The top administrative court of France has upheld a government ban on the wearing of abaya, a long robe-like garment often worn by Muslim women in educational institutions.

The court dismissed several pleas against the abaya ban on Thursday, September 7, which claimed that the move was discriminatory against a particular community and could incite hatred.

The Council of the Muslim Faith in France, which was established to represent Muslims before the government, warned that banning the traditional Muslim attire might lead to “an elevated risk of discrimination” and said that it was thinking about filing its own legal suit with the Council before the court’s decision.

MS Education Academy

French President Emmanuel Macron declared last month that it was outlawing the abaya and qamis, another long, loose-fitting garment worn by certain Muslim males, in schools, arguing that the attire violated the country’s laws governing educational secularism. Muslim head coverings have already been banned because they serve as a visible sign of religion.

Another Muslim organisation called Action for the Rights of Muslims (ADM) filed a motion with the State Council seeking an injunction against the ban “because it was deemed discriminatory and would foster animosity towards Muslims.”

On the first day of the French academic year this week, about 300 schoolgirls refused to follow the rules and insisted on wearing their abayas. Most agreed to change attire, but 67 did not and were sent home, according to Education Minister Gabriel Attal.

On Wednesday, September 6, teachers as well as students at a high school went on strike in protest against the ban.

As per Al Jazeera reports, the protest group at the Maurice Utrillo High School in Stains, Seine-Saint-Denis, northeast of Paris claimed that they want to distance themselves from the government’s Islamophobic policy.

“Students must be welcomed at the school and we do not have to police the attire. We refuse to stigmatise students who wear an abaya or a qamis,” the group said.

The State Council reversed a “burkini” ban at a French Riviera resort in 2016, claiming that the lengthy swimming suit worn by some Muslim women posed no threat to the peace.

Back to top button