Incidents Relating to Islamic Veil in French Schools Multiplying

In this closeup rear view, an unrecognizable woman wearing a hijab sits in a chair in a cl
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At least 144 violations of France’s secularism law were reported in the second quarter of this year in French schools regarding the Islamic veil and other traditional Islamic clothing, a trend that is increasing.

France’s Central Territorial Intelligence Service (SCRT), a police division tasked with monitoring communitarianism and sectarianism, published a confidential note earlier this month regarding violations of the 2004 secularism law in French schools, claiming there has been a surge of incidents of Muslim girls refusing to remove Islamic veils in schools.

The SCRT note also notes that there have been similar cases with Muslim boys who wear traditional Muslim male garments such as the djellaba, French broadcaster RTL reports.

Since December of 2021, the SCRT noted a clear surge in the number of violations of the 2004 secularism law in schools with 97 breaches of the law reported in the first three months of 2022 and another 144 breaches reported in the second quarter of the year.

While the law concerns all reglions, a police source told RTL that the vast majority of those recorded involved the Islamic faith.

Earlier this month, a report in the magazine L’Opinion claimed that French schools were facing an “epidemic” of incidents of students wearing Islamic clothing and following the report, President Emmanuel Macron was questioned over the issue and stated he wanted “clarity and all the figures” relating to the issue.

The SCRT report claims that many of the students wearing Islamic garments have claimed their use is cultural rather than religious and states that teachers are often “destitute”, with some teachers being targetted by students or their parents on social media.

According to RTL, the social media campaigns encourage girls to report issues regarding their wearing of Islamic clothing to Muslim advocacy groups and others against Islamophobia.

President Macron’s government has previously slammed activists’ use of the term Islamophobia, claiming it is used as a weapon to silence valid and legal criticism of radical Islam.

The French Interministerial Committee for the Prevention of Delinquency and Radicalisation slamemd the use of the term last year saying, “To speak of hatred against Muslims, the term ‘Islamophobia’ is inappropriate since it confuses the stigmatisation of believers with criticism of Islam.”

“It is not allowed to call for hatred or discrimination against religious groups. But it is permissible to criticise belief systems or philosophical views. It’s freedom of speech,” the committee said.

President Macron has vowed to tackle issues of separatism and rid France of “parallel societies”, particularly after the murder of teacher Samuel Paty in 2020, who was killed by a Chechen refugee after showing cartoons of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed to his class.

However, radical Islamic ideas have become more and more popular in part of France, especially online where radical content dominates French Muslim content online, according to a French Interior Ministry report from October of last year.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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