Muslims girls prepare for their return to school sans long garments amid France’s abaya ban

On this afternoon on August 28, the Vigneux-sur-Seine media library in Essonne, a southern suburb of Paris, has an incredibly somber mood.

15-year-olds Hassina and Besma sit at a table and look through publications about home design while chatting. Before returning to school, they are still making the most of their remaining vacation days by unwinding.

“I hope everything goes well,” Hassina adds to Middle East Eye, apprehensively. The small child, clad in a loose traditional abaya that covers the arms and legs, expresses concern that her attire may be a source of trouble for her.

“Last year, I already had issues with my middle school’s administration. I fear that in order to attend high school, I will have to give up the abaya permanently this time,” she adds.

The previous day, Education Minister Gabriel Attal was uncompromising on TF1’s evening news when he said that the abaya will no longer be permitted in educational institutions since it violates secularism.

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