French Council Of State Rejects Summary Against Ban On Wearing Abayas In Schools

Image of Muslim women wearing traditional abayas.

Image of Muslim women wearing traditional abayas. Credit: Rod Waddington/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

THE Council of State has rejected the summary against the ban on wearing the abaya at school.

Urgently referred by an association, this Thursday, September 7, the summary judge of the Council of State rejected the summary judgment against the ban on the wearing of the abaya or qamis within the confines of public schools, colleges and high schools in France.

In the current state of the investigation, the judge in the Conseil d’État considered that the ban on the wearing of this clothing did not constitute a serious or manifestly illegal attack on the fundamental freedom of those wearing the garment.

Gabriel Attal issued a circular on August 31

On August 31, Gabriel Attal, the Minister of National Education and Youth, issued a circular. It indicated that wearing the abaya or qamis within public schools, colleges and high schools constituted an apparent manifestation of the prohibition of religious symbols in educational establishments.

In the text, he referred to Article L.145-5-1 of the education code, which was implemented on March 15, 2004. The Action for Muslims Association (Action Droits des Musulmans) subsequently asked the interim judge of the Council of State to suspend this circular as a matter of urgency, as reported by

The judge in chambers of the Council of State noted that the wearing of the abaya and the qamis within schools – which gave rise to a sharp increase in the number of reports during the 2022-2023 school year – was part of a logic of religious affirmation, as was apparent in particular from the remarks made during the dialogues undertaken with the pupils.

The 2004 law has led to many debates

Critics of the new ban insist that it is traditional, non-religious clothing and therefore restrictions on religious symbols should not apply to the abaya. The complaint filed with the Council of State is based on this logic.

Since March 15, 2004, the wearing of religious symbols or clothing symbolising religious beliefs in French educational establishments has been prohibited by law.

Debates have erupted regularly about the prohibition of traditional Muslim clothing, which must be removed at the entrance to schools.

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), citing a government report, the number of attacks on the principle of secularism in the educational environment has increased by 120 per cent since the assassination of the teacher Samuel Paty by a young radicalised Islamist in 2020.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at