“We must be adamant” to ban the abaya and kameez — long garments worn by some Muslims — French President Emmanuel Macron said today, three days before the start of the school year, which marks the start of this ban, in the name of the secular nature of the state.

The government “he will not let anything pass“, “we know there will be cases (…) of negligence perhaps, but many to try to challenge the democratic system. We must be unyielding,” Macron said as he walked into a vocational high school in Orange, southern France.

On Thursday afternoon, the French Minister of National Education, Gabriel Atal sent a memo to school leaders clarifying that the use of the abaya and kameez “obviously expresses in the school environment a religious belief and this cannot be tolerated there”.

A measure justified by Macron as “teachers, school principals must never be alone in the face of the pressures they are under, or the challenges that exist for that matter”.

Those “hussars of the Republic” “they rightly defend the secular character of the state” and “we must support them when they are threatened”, he insisted, assuring that “the state, the Republic is behind them”.

The French head of state promised that “in the high schools or colleges that are the most sensitive, special staff will be deployed alongside the heads of schools and teachers to support them and also start the necessary dialogue with families and students”.