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French Muslim sent home from school over long skirt

A teenage Muslim girl was barred from entering her school grounds for wearing a long black skirt seen as too openly religious.

French Muslim sent home from school over long skirt
Photo: AFP
The 16-year-old was sent home this week after her headmaster took a dislike to her skirt.
 
The skirt – popular among some Muslim women who cover their whole body – reportedly reached beyond her knees and down to her sneakers, reported the Nouvel Obs newspaper.
 
The headmaster of the Seine-et-Marne school, in the outer suburbs of Paris, reportedly deemed that the skirt “conspicuously” showed religious affiliation, which is banned in schools by France's strict secularity laws.
 
According to the 2004 law that governs secularity in schools, veils, the Jewish kippa or large Christian crosses are all banned in educational establishments, but “discreet religious signs” are allowed.
 
The mother of the teenage girl has since returned to the school to complain. After a chat with the headmaster, the school has promised to discuss the matter further with the family on Monday.
 
“Yes, my daughter, who is Franco-Portuguese and from a Catholic family, has converted to Islam,” Marie-Christine de Sousa told the paper. 
 
“I've always supported her choices and decisions. Earlier this year, I allowed her to wear the veil, which she takes off before going into the school. She wears long dresses for school.”
 
The family of the girl is already planning legal action, the paper reported. 
 
In the meantime, the teenager, who converted to Islam a year ago, will have to find something to wear to school instead of her black H&M skirt.. 
 
France was rocked by a similar case to this in April last year when a girl with a long skirt was also barred from class.
 
Her story trended on Twitter across France with the hashtag #JePorteMaJupeCommeJeVeux, translated into English as “I wear my skirt as I please.”
 
Some suggested that long black skirts were nothing out of the ordinary provided they're worn by non-Muslims. 
 
“Wearing a long skirt is nothing ostentatious. This is more due to mass hysteria,” Abdallah Zekri, president of the National Observatory against Islamophobia, said at the time.
 
The CCIF Islamophobia watchdog said this week that some 177 students were rejected from class in 2015 for outfits deemed too openly religious.
 
Does a long black skirt really flout French laws?

ISLAM

Erdogan calls French separatism bill ‘guillotine’ of democracy

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday denounced a planned French law designed to counter "Islamist separatism" as a "guillotine" of democracy.

Erdogan calls French separatism bill 'guillotine' of democracy
Erdogan has already denounced the proposed measures as "anti-Muslim". Photo: Adem ALTAN/AFP

The draft legislation has been criticised both inside France and abroad for stigmatising Muslims and giving the state new powers to limit speech and religious groups.

“The adoption of this law, which is openly in contradiction of human rights, freedom of religion and European values, will be a guillotine blow inflicted on French democracy,” said Erdogan in a speech in Ankara.

The current version of the planned law would only serve the cause of extremism, putting NGOs under pressure and “forcing young people to choose between their beliefs and their education”, he added.

READ ALSO: What’s in France’s new law to crack down on Islamist extremism?

“We call on the French authorities, and first of all President (Emmanuel) Macron, to act sensibly,” he continued. “We expect a rapid withdrawal of this bill.”

Erdogan also said he was ready to work with France on security issues and integration, but relations between the two leaders have been strained for some time.

France’s government is in the process of passing new legislation to crack down on what it has termed “Islamist separatism”, which would give the state more power to vet and disband religious groups judged to be threats to the nation.

Erdogan has already denounced the proposed measures as “anti-Muslim”.

READ ALSO: Has Macron succeeded in creating an ‘Islam for France’?

Last October, Erdogan questioned Macron’s “mental health”, accusing him of waging a “campaign of hatred” against Islam, after the French president defended the right of cartoonists to caricature the prophet Mohammed.

The two countries are also at odds on a number of other issues, including Libya, Syria and the eastern Mediterranean.

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