French high school goes on strike over “Islamophobic” abaya ban

According to Aljazeera, teachers and students of a French high school have gone on strike in protest against the government’s decision to ban abaya and qamis in public schools.

“We want to distance ourselves from the government’s Islamophobic policy,” said a statement from the protest group at the Maurice Utrillo high school in Stains, Seine-Saint-Denis, calling for a strike which started on Wednesday.

The statement further noted that students must be welcomed at the high school and there is no need to police their clothing, adding: “We refuse to stigmatise students who wear an abaya or a qamis.”

Parents joined the demonstration, during which the school’s staff decried budget issues – criticising what they called a “drastic drop” in necessary resources to teach well, including cuts on personnel and on teaching hours.

The recent ban on Islamic dress code has sparked a wave of criticism from activists and the Muslim community who describe the decision as discriminatory, while the French Government insists it will secure secularism in the country.

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