An outfit cannot be religious by simple suspicion

An outfit cannot be religious by simple suspicion

According to the Prime Minister, Mrs. Elisabeth Borne, no difficulty related to wearing the “abaya” was noted this Monday, September 4, the first day of the school year.

However, the consequences of the internal note sent by the Minister of National Education, Mr. Gabriel Attal, to the heads of establishments, concerning the ban on the “abaya”, are likely to fuel the news in the coming weeks. . The absence, in this same note, of a clear definition of this garment actually creates a vague situation and legal uncertainty.

Indeed, in the media, some have claimed that it is possible to differentiate an “abaya” from a long dress “depending on the context”.

The CFCM is more than perplexed by this type of statement. If a young girl objects to the religious aspect of her long dress, in the name of what and on what will this famous “context” be based? Is it a question of implementing arbitrary facial control? Are the criteria that will be used not likely to be based on supposed origin, surname or skin color?

The CFCM does not defend the wearing of the “abaya” or the long dress per se. However, he fears that we could arrive at the ubuesque, unprecedented and shocking situation, where in the same class, a long dress could be worn by a young girl, because she is allegedly “non-Muslim”, and her classmate will be prohibited from doing so. , because a “certain context” would imply that she is “Muslim”.

The CFCM wishes to express its concern about these high risks of discrimination against young girls, because of their “supposed membership” to the Muslim religion.

Faithful to its commitment to the fight against all forms of discrimination, and in accordance with its missions and commitments, it reserves the right to refer the matter to the Council of State if the concrete application of this prohibitory measure results in forms of discrimination.

In its constant tradition, the CFCM has always had a particular attachment to respecting the law in force which is the foundation of the Republic and life in society. This is why he condemns all calls for disobedience, and rejects proselytism whatever its form.

Furthermore, the CFCM listened carefully to the testimonies of the first concerned and noted a multitude of causes leading to the wearing of this type of clothing. This is why he rejects any form of generalization.

Some young girls claim to wear the “abaya” thinking that it is religious clothing. The CFCM reminds them that the “abaya” has never been a garment or a religious prescription.

Other young girls or boys, at the age of adolescence, may adopt clothing trends out of defiance, protest or rebellion against authority, in general. The CFCM would like to remind students of the Muslim faith that refraining from any ostentation or provocative attitude and demonstrating decorum are at the heart of any sincere faith.

Finally, many young girls, followers of a religion or not, freely choose to wear long dresses out of “style” or fashion, by culture or tradition, or for any other personal reason, far from any desire to provoke.

As citizens, the members of the CFCM deplore that these young people can now, at a key period of their lives, feel injured, constrained, and wronged in their individual freedoms, and more particularly if their free choice were to be arbitrarily hindered. .

The CFCM has confidence in the educational body of our country and in its ability to establish a calm and intelligent dialogue with students. It is through dialogue and pedagogy that the school can protect itself from any tension detrimental to its noble missions, and promote, more than elsewhere, the knowledge of living together.

The French Council of Muslim Worship
Paris, September 4, 2023