France to ban abaya overgarment in schools

France plans to ban the abaya, a long loose-fitting overgarment worn by some Muslim women, on school grounds, the country’s education minister said on Sunday.

Gabriel Attal told broadcaster TF1 that the government intends to convey “clear rules” on the matter to school officials across the country.

Attal also said he wanted to speak with the school officials starting next week to help them enforce the ban on the robe-like dress that covers the entire body.

The decision is the latest in several limitations on Islamic clothing in France, where critics say the government has targeted Muslims with statements and policies in recent years including a claim by President Emmanuel Macron that the religion is “in crisis,” raids on mosques and charitable foundations, and an “anti-separatism” law that slaps wide-ranging restrictions on the community.

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