'I wear my skirt as I like': French Twitter campaign over schoolgirl's dress ban

The public has reacted with a campaign in social networks called "I wear my skirt as I like" after a 15-year-old French Muslim girl was banned from her class for wearing a long skirt reflecting her religious affiliation.

The controversial incident happened in the northeastern French town of Charleville-Mezieres, where a schoolgirl named Sarah was sent home twice this month because of her “conspicuous” appearance: a long skirt which symbolizes her affiliation with Islam.

This incident caused a massive public outcry in social networks – especially on Twitter where hashtag #JePorteMaJupeCommeJeVeux (#I wear my skirt as I like in English) became a trend.

Some users are disappointed with the current developments and blame the authorities for religious discrimination.

“French school bans long black skirts because they are not secular. Um, it’s fashion must have,” says one of campaigners.

Another one writes with irony: “Wondering if French president sent Michelle Obama home for wearing a long skirt.”

Some users resort to joking, trying to imagine who else may be banned in France because of a dubious clothing choice: Emma Watson, Elsa from the animation film “Frozen”, princess Leia Organa from “Star Wars”, or even… the Statue of Liberty?

Rachid Nekkaz, a political activist, told RT he wonders how the girl could break the law since there isn’t one in France that bans long skirts. According to Nekkaz, “there is a phobia going on in France, a deep fear and deep anger towards Muslims and Islam.” The activist also said "political elite and educational professionals in France need to say: ‘Enough is enough to all this hatred shown to Muslims and Islam!’ We have the historical example of the German government [Nazis] saying to its citizens that the problem in German society was Jews. I think we are approaching a similar situation in France right now.”

READ MORE: Jews, Muslims face increasing French discrimination, racism – Council of Europe

Sarah’s case is not an altogether rare occurrence. About 130 girls weren’t allowed to attend classes because of their clothes, the Telegraph reports. France prides itself as being a secular state and the law has banned Islamic headscarves, the Jewish kippa, or skullcap, large Christian crosses or any other "ostentatious sign of religion" at schools since 2004.

Recently the independent Council of Europe claimed that France has become more intolerant to ethnic minorities including Jews and Muslims. Studies on this had been conducted before the Charlie Hebdo attacks, which is why experts believe religious discrimination is a long-term trend in France.