15-yr-old Muslim girl banned from class twice for wearing long black skirt

A 15-year-old Muslim girl has been banned from class twice for wearing a long black skirt seen as too openly religious for secular France, in a case that has sparked a public outcry, Guardian UK reports.

The student who was stopped from going to class because of her long skirt had always removed her veil - banned because it shows religious affiliation – before entering her school.

The girl identified as Sarah, was said to have been stopped from from going to class earlier this month by the headteacher who reportedly felt the long skirt “conspicuously” showed religious affiliation, which is banned in schools by France’s strict secularity laws.

“The girl was not excluded, she was asked to come back with a neutral outfit and it seems her father did not want the student to come back to school,” local education official Patrice Dutot told AFP on Tuesday.

Dutot admitted that the student always removed her veil before entering school premises in the north-eastern town of Charleville-Mezieres, as is specifically stipulated by law.

According to the 2004 law that governs secularity in schools, veils, the Jewish kippa or large Christian crosses are banned in educational establishments, but “discreet religious signs” are allowed.

Sarah reportedly told told local daily newspaper L’Ardennais that her skirt was “nothing special, it’s very simple, there’s nothing conspicuous. There is no religious sign whatsoever”.

Her story was trending on Twitter in France with the hashtag #JePorteMaJupeCommeJeVeux, translated into English as “I wear my skirt as I please”.

“If it’s worn by a ‘white’ person, it’s hippy chic, if it’s a Muslim, it becomes conspicuous,” one user tweeted.

But the regional education office hinted in a statement that wearing the skirt could have been part of a concerted “provocation.”

“When it comes to concerted protest actions by students, which follow other more visible incidents linked for instance to wearing the veil, the secular framework for education must be firmly reminded and guaranteed,” it said.

According to the CCIF Islamophobia watchdog, about 130 students were rejected from class last year for outfits deemed too openly religious.

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