Top French court to deliver verdict on Abaya ban in 2 days
More than 60 Muslim female students refused to remove abayas at schools on 1st day of new school session, says education minister
The highest French court will deliver its verdict in the next 48 hours on an appeal against the government's abaya dress ban in schools.
Vincent Brengarth, the lawyer for the Muslim Rights Action (ADM) filed an appeal Friday with the Council of State to seek the suspension of the ban on the abaya -- a loose-fitting, full-length robe worn by some Muslim students at school -- which he said violates "several fundamental freedoms."
A session was held at the court to evaluate the ADM's appeal which took nearly two hours. Following the session, Brengarth said the court would deliver the verdict in two days.
He noted the escalation concerning the debate about whether the abaya is a religious sign.
Barring students from entering schools because of the abaya is a violation of privacy and personal freedom, said Brengarth.
Noting that some students were not allowed in schools Monday, he said it is not the Department of Education's to determine whether something is religious.
Education Minister Gabriel Attal said early Tuesday that more than 60 Muslim female students refused to remove their abaya at schools.
The new school session began Monday and despite the new rule, 298 students came to schools in various regions of the country wearing an abaya, he said.
"Sixty-seven of them refused to give up on their abaya," Attal said in an interview with RMC radio. "I do not want to be able to identify students' religion in schools by looking at their outfit."
President Emmanuel Macron, who backed last week's decision to ban abaya and qamis, a type of ankle-length shirt for men, also said in an interview Monday that a unique attire could be adopted in schools, such as a pair of jeans, a tee shirt and a jacket.
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.
*Nur Asena Erturk in Ankara contributed to this report
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