Banning the cloak in French schools begins tomorrow, and Macron is calling for its strict implementation

The French authorities have confirmed that female students who wear abayas and students who wear long shirts will not enter their classes on Monday, the first day of the school year, amid condemnation by human rights organizations and opposition political currents.

According to a memorandum sent by French Education Minister Gabriel Attal to heads of educational institutions, wearing the abaya and long shirt "expresses religious affiliation in the school environment and cannot be tolerated."


France, home to Europe's largest Muslim minority, has banned the Islamic headscarf in public schools since 2004.


According to French press reports, the ban on the abaya is a continuation of the implementation of the 2004 law, which prohibits the wearing of clothes or symbols that show religious affiliation in French educational institutions.


In July of last year, Le Figaro newspaper published an investigation revealing that despite the continued application of the 2004 law, there is a significant increase in the abayas worn by girls and long shirts worn by boys, so that they doubled in secondary schools, especially when Ramadan begins, so that some The managers expressed their dissatisfaction and wondered why the clothes were so popular.


For his part, French President Emmanuel Macron called - in statements he made the day before yesterday, Friday - for firmness in implementing the abaya ban.


"We will not let anything pass," Macron said during his visit to a vocational high school in Orange, southern France. "We know that there will be cases - perhaps due to negligence - but many cases of trying to challenge the republican system. We have to be firm."


He added that "teachers and school principals should never be left alone to face the existing pressures or challenges on this subject," adding that these "knights of the republic" have "the right to defend secularism," as he put it.


On the other hand, a broad spectrum of French people expressed their condemnation of the decision to ban the cloak, led by the leftist opposition inside and outside Parliament.


Prominent French left-wing politician Jean-Luc Melenchon strongly criticized the decision, and called on officials to avoid provoking conflicts of a religious nature.


Manuel Bombard, coordinator of the France Independence Party - which is led by Melenchon - said that he would propose to the party's parliamentary group to reject this decision - which he described as dangerous and cruel - and to submit it for review before the Council of State in order to prove that it is a decision contrary to the constitution.


Meanwhile, French female students expressed their annoyance at the decision and considered it a blatant interference in their personal freedom.


A student - who asked not to be identified - said in a statement to Al-Jazeera, "It is not within their authority to decide what to wear. They removed the veil from us in 2004, and now they are working to remove the abaya, which is not a religious dress, but rather a cultural traditional dress. To what extent will they continue this?"


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