Field tested ban

Field tested ban

After several weeks of debate, the French government decided to wear the abaya in school.

And on August 27, Education Minister Gabriel Atal announced, unsurprisingly, that the long dress would be banned in schools.

Failing to put an end to the debate, the decision sparked controversy and heartbreak, including within the political class. The decision will be tested on the ground on Monday, September 4, marking the start of the school year.

Questions arise about how the directive will be applied. If it is easy to identify the Islamic headscarf, which has been banned in schools since 2004, this is not the case with the abaya. Any long dress can be mistaken for a forbidden habit, especially if it is worn by a dark-skinned girl or a name with an Islamic connotation.

Education officials will have to do “clothes police” with a high risk of slippage, racial profiling and therefore resistance and accidents.

The Ministry of Education sent a memorandum to school officials specifying the procedures for implementing the decision.

Two garments are actually forbidden: the abaya for girls and the shirt for boys. If a student appears at the gate wearing one of these two uniforms, they will not be able to enter the class, but they will not be expelled either.

He will be invited for discussion in one of the Foundation’s offices. Disciplinary action will only be taken against him if he persists in his refusal to give up the prohibited costume.

“We will ensure that it (the law) is properly applied,” Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne simply answered a question from RTL, recalling the 2004 law banning the display of signs of religious affiliation in schools.

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Abaya at school: the French political class is in tatters

The head of the executive authority preferred to focus on the criticisms of part of the political class. It denounced “manipulation and attempts at provocation by some,” citing the name “the proud France.” Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s party is going against the wind against the Minister of Education’s decision to ban the abaya in schools, starting from the start of the 2023-2024 academic year.

Melenchon denounced the “new, completely absurd and artificial religious war over female dress”.

The Left Party had considered seizing the State Council. Soon, an Islamic association, Action for Muslim Rights, took action by taking over this Supreme Administrative Court in order to obtain an annulment of the ban.

And on the right, on the contrary, we are cheerful. It is rare in Emmanuel Macron’s era for the far right and the traditional right to fully agree with the government’s decision.

Eric Ciotti, chairman of the Republican Party, welcomed the ban, saying we were in an “unbearable drift”. Unsurprisingly, Eric Zemmour saw the move as a “good first step.”

President Macron, like his prime minister, promised firm enforcement of the law. “Beyond words, we will take action,” the head of state said during a visit to a secondary school in the Vaucluse region on Friday.

But Emmanuel Macron already anticipates the difficulty of implementing the decision, realizing that many will try to “challenge the republican system”. Is the decision to ban the cloak a clumsy decision that will generate accidents and an explosion of cases of “attack on secularism”? France will start responding from Monday 4 September.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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