The French government’s decision to prohibit the wearing of abayas, loose-fitting full-length robes worn by some Muslim women, in state-run schools has generated both support and criticism. France’s policy of secularism, known as “laicite,” has led to a ban on religious symbols in state schools since 2004. Education Minister Gabriel Attal cited breaches of laicite as the reason for the recent ban. While some conservatives and school principals welcomed the decision, critics from the left, including politicians and academics, argued that it could stigmatize Muslim students and blur the line between fashion and religion. The debate highlights the ongoing tension surrounding religious symbols and cultural identity in French society.

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