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France's new school year to start with abaya ban

France's new school year will start with an abaya ban in place, the country's education minister said Thursday.

The school year will start next week on Monday.

"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," Gabriel Attal told broadcaster France Inter, describing the loose garment some Muslim women wear as a sign of modesty.

He said students wearing such garments will be allowed inside the school building, but will not take classes. Instead, they will be sent for a discussion over the choice of their clothing.

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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