Schools start rejecting girls wearing abayas in France
Nearly 300 girls defied a prohibition on the Muslim garment by arriving at school Monday morning wearing an abaya.
According to a government minister, on the first day of the school year, French schools sent dozens of girls home for refusing to take off their abayas - full-body garments worn by some Muslim women.
Nearly 300 girls defied a prohibition on the Muslim garment by arriving at school Monday morning wearing an abaya, according to French Education Minister Gabriel Attal, who spoke to the BFM broadcaster.
Attal claimed that 67 were refused and were sent home.
Attal announced last month that the government would move forward with a ban on abaya dresses in schools, citing the country's secular principles.
Attal said that secularism is not a restriction, but rather a freedom that allows people to form their own opinions and emancipate themselves through education.
The political right applauded the action, but the hard left claimed it violated civil liberties.
According to Attal, a letter stating that "secularism is not a constraint, it is a liberty" was sent to the girls whose admittance was denied to their families.
The minister stated that there would be a "new dialogue" if they returned to school wearing the attire.
Late Monday, President Emmanuel Macron claimed there was a "minority" in France who "hijack a religion and challenge the republic and secularism", leading to the "worst consequences".
An organization that represents Muslims has requested an injunction against prohibiting the abaya and the qamis, its male equivalent clothing, with the State Council, France's highest court for complaints against state officials.
Later on Tuesday, the motion from Action for the Rights of Muslims (ADM) will be reviewed.
The government banned any religious symbols from being worn by students in public schools in 2004, including the Hijab, the Muslim headscarf.
Islamophobia in France and across the EU has always been a recurring issue. Lately, the matter has been exacerbated, in great part due to the energy crisis and the cost-of-living crisis, which many right-wing advocates attribute to migrants as being economic burdens.
In late June, France's top administrative court ruled against a collective of Muslim female soccer players in their case against the French Football Federation (FFF), imposing a ban on the Islamic headscarf, or Hijab, during sports games.