Macron says France will be uncompromising over abaya ban

The French president on Friday vowed that the government will be uncompromising on the overgarment ban in schools.

Emmanuel Macron visited a high school in the town of Orange, southern France, where he made comments on the ban on wearing abaya, or qamis overgarments at school.

“Schools in our country are secular, free and compulsory, but foremost, secular … and religious signs, whatever they are, do not have a place (there),” Macron said, according to broadcaster BFMTV.

The president backed Education Minister Gabriel Attal’s stance, saying: “We will be uncompromising on this topic. … We will take actions beyond words.”

Macron said specific staff will go support the principals in sensitive schools, and set up a dialogue with the students and their families. “We will not let anything pass,” the president ensured.

Attal has announced that students wearing the traditional overgarments will not be able to attend classes as of Monday, when the school year starts.

“They (students) will be welcomed to the school and there will be a discussion to explain to them the point of the rule, why this decision was taken, and why they cannot wear abaya or qamis at school,” Attal said.

The French government has been criticized for targeting Muslims with statements and policies in recent years including raids on mosques and charitable foundations, and an “anti-separatism” law that slaps wide-ranging restrictions on the community.

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