Protest in northern France against ban on abaya in schools

Protest in northern France against ban on abaya in schools

Ban violates freedoms, protesters say, stressing that government, instead of banning abaya, should ban hate and anti-Muslim speech

By Esra Taskin

TRAPPES, France (AA) – A group of people staged a protest in the northern French city of Trappes on Friday against a ban on Muslim wearing of abaya in schools.

A group of people, along with some patients of schoolgirls, staged the protest under the banner "Don't Touch My Abaya Community" in front of La Plaine de Neauphle High School, a day after France's highest court ruled in favor of the government's ban on abaya, a loose-fitting, full-length robe worn by some Muslim students.

Chanting slogans against the ban, protesters called for an end to discrimination against Muslims and Islamophobia in France.

During the demonstration, the group read out a statement calling the abaya ban “anti-Muslim."

The ban violates freedoms, the statement said, stressing that the government, instead of banning abaya, should ban hate and anti-Muslim speech.

Feiza Bousaid, the mother of a high school student who also joined the protest, told Anadolu that many people oppose the ban.

“They want to educate their children but they cannot force them to dress the way they (the government) want,” Bousaid said.

Abaya ban puts pressure on young girls, said Mariam, who preferred to use only his first name.

“All this is very sad, in 2023 we are still talking about such issues,” she told Anadolu.

France's highest court, the Council of State, ruled on Thursday that the government's ban on wearing the abaya is legal, rejecting an appeal by a Muslim rights group against the government ban announced last month. The court said the ban did not discriminate against Muslims.

On Aug. 31, Vincent Brengarth, a lawyer for the Muslim Rights Action (ADM), filed an appeal with the Council of State to seek the suspension of the ban on the abaya which, he said, violates "several fundamental freedoms."

The controversial move sparked a backlash against the government, which has been criticized in recent years for targeting Muslims with statements and policies, including raids on mosques and charitable foundations, and an "anti-separatism" law that imposes broad restrictions on the community.

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