Abaya ban in school: The Council of State of France decides today

Abaya ban in school: The Council of State of France decides today


The Council of State must make a decision on Thursday to ban the abaya in school, which is contested by an association that points to the risk of discrimination and rights violations.

The Association Action Droits des Musulmans (ADM) urgently occupied the highest administrative court to obtain a suspension of this ban. During the hearing on Tuesday afternoon, the judge in chambers indicated that he would make his decision “within 48 hours”.

For the complainants, the ban on this long traditional dress in school “violates the rights of the child, as it mainly targets children who are presumed to be Muslim, thus creating a risk of ethnic profiling in school”.

At the heart of the debate: the decision made on August 27 by the Minister of National Education, Gabriel Attal, to ban the wearing of the abaya in public schools, colleges and high schools.

Much of the debate during the hearing revolved around the religious significance of the garment, with ADM lawyer Vincent Brengarth arguing that the abaya “cannot be considered religious but traditional clothing”. But for the Ministry of National Education, this article of clothing “immediately makes the wearer recognize that he belongs to the Muslim faith.”

Explosive topic

ADM president Sihem Zine condemned the “sexist” ban because “it only targets girls”. “Arabs are being targeted,” she says.

A concern shared by the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), which warned of “high risks of discrimination”, reserving the right to occupy the Council of State.

Among other angles of attack, Me Brengarth on Tuesday condemned the change from the existing law and the “willingness to make a sort of political warhorse” on the “remaining” issue.

On Monday, about 300 students, out of the 12 million who returned to school this week, appeared in front of their institution in abayas, and 67 of them refused to remove them, according to the Ministry of National Education.

On this explosive topic, the political debate quickly flared up, splitting on the left.

Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti called on Tuesday in a directive for a “very reactive criminal response” in the case of violations of the principle of secularism in schools.

In 2016, the Council of State suspended an anti-burkini decree passed by the city of Villeneuve-Loubet (Alpes-Maritimes) due to a lack of “proven risks” to public order.

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