French President Emmanuel Macron made comments to the press regarding the ban on students from wearing abayas in schools in the province of Vaucluse, where he went to visit a high school for the new academic year.
Expressing that they “will not compromise and are determined” on this ban, Macron stated that this determination will not remain in words, but will be put into practice.
Macron announced that additional special personnel will be deployed to support principals and teachers in high schools and secondary schools where the issue of the abaya ban is sensitive.
Emmanuel Macron noted that these personnel can also establish dialogue with students and their families, and said that there may be those who do not comply with the ban, but that “when schools open, they will not allow this in any way.”
Controversial abaya ban decision in France
The announcement by Education Minister Gabriel Attal on 27 August that he would not allow abaya and entari-style long dresses to be worn in schools, on the grounds that they are against secularism, caused controversy.
Government Spokesperson Olivier Veran commented that the abaya and similar long dresses, which will be banned from being worn in schools in the country on August 28, are a “political offensive tool”.
The opposition had stated that they would take the decision of the Minister Attal to ban the wearing of abayas in schools, on the grounds that it was against secularism, to the Council of State.
On the France Inter radio, where she was a guest on August 31, Attal announced that as of the new academic year, which will start on September 4, boys’ gowns (kamis) will be banned, as well as the abayas worn by girls.
– The issue of abaya and secularism in France
In France, where the headscarf is currently prohibited in primary and secondary schools, the long dress worn by girls and called “abaya” is considered a religious symbol.
With the secularism law of 1905, France went on the path of separating religion and state affairs. In October 1989, 3 middle school students were expelled from school for refusing to take off their headscarves. This event entered the political literature of the country as “Creil hijab issues”.
On the other hand, on 27 November 1989, the Council of State decided that it was not against secularism for students to carry symbols revealing their religious affiliation.
The headscarf issue has been the subject of debate in the country for many years, and in 2004 the use of religious symbols was banned in all public primary and secondary schools. While the religious symbols mentioned include the “scarf,” this ban particularly affected Muslim girls wearing headscarves and Sikh men wearing turbans.
In France in 2015, the 15-year-old girl wearing a long black skirt was not allowed to go to school, and it was on the agenda in the country.