A teenage girl who converted to Islam has been banned from attending her school in the eastern Parisian suburbs because of the length of her skirt.
Montereau-Fault-Yonne, the school’s headteacher told the student that due to her skirt being too long it presented an “ostentatious religious symbol”- a forbidden practice in the schools of France since 2004.
Long skirts take different meanings depending on whether they are worn for fashion or to adhere to religious views, the former is allowed but due to the secular nature of the state and laws implemented in 2004, the latter are in breach of France’s decree to keep schools separated from religion.
The council of state, the final interpreter of the French legal system, has been asked to weigh in on this case but has yet to do so.
Following the incident, an investigation carried out by the French education system concluded that the girl is not part of any extremist group.
The girl has been named only as K De Sousa and is of Portuguese origin. She converted to Islam with the blessing of her family, a year ago.
“My daughter respects the law. I respect her religion. Until now, the school has made no comment on the way she dresses,” De Sousa’s mother, Marie-Christine de Sousa told French magazine L’Obs.
“Apart from chattering in class, she has no problems and doesn’t say much about her conversion. People shouldn’t jump to conclusions.”
Although K De Sousa wears a headscarf in public; in compliance with French law, she takes it off when she reaches school.
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. A handful of schools in France have begun to interpret long skirts worn by Muslim girls as a religious symbol. Most do not.
The education board covering K De Sousa’s school admitted that dialogue between the school and her family had “not gone entirely serenely”. A spokesperson said, “It is in everyone’s interest that this young woman should pursue her schooling normally. A long dress or skirt is not, in itself, a motive for excluding a pupil.”
According to the CCIF Islamophobia watchdog, some 130 students were rejected from class last year for outfits deemed too openly religious.
In April 2015, a 15-year-old Muslim girl was banned from class twice for wearing a long black skirt. Her story sparked outrage and started a trend on Twitter with the hashtag #JePorteMaJupeCommeJeVeux, translated into English as “I wear my skirt as I please.
To French almost naked women are welcome and they watch their legs. They watch their daughter’s legs too. What a shameless breed!
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