Le Pen Refuse to Wear Headscarf to Meet Lebanese Grand Muslim Mufti
21 February, 2017, 21:59 | Author: Valerie Burke
Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right political party Front National, canceled a meeting on Tuesday with Lebanon's Grand Mufti because she refused to wear a Muslim headscarf to the scheduled meeting.
"You will pass on to the grand mufti my consideration but I will not veil myself", she said.
Khaldoun Awas, with Derian's press office, said that he was surprised by Le Pen's refusal, and that her aides had been informed of the requirement beforehand.
But Le Pentold reporters that she hadn't been required to wear a headscarf when she met Egypt's top cleric in 2015.
Instead, "they tried to impose it upon me", she told The Associated Press.
Le Pen reportedly refused to put it on and the meeting was cancelled.
James Mates, Europe editor of ITV tweeted Tuesday that a recent poll indicated Le Pen would be a clear victor in the first round of voting for France's president.
Islamic dress is a hot-button issue in France, where the full-face veil is banned in public places.
"The mufti's office regrets this inappropriate behaviour in such meetings".
French law bans headscarves in the public service and for high school pupils, in the name of church-state separation and equal rights for women.
Tuesday is Ms Le Pen's last day in Lebanon, where she met a foreign head of state for the first time - President Michel Aoun.
In addition to opposing the current French government platform, Le Pen's proclamation attracted both veiled and explicit criticism."The most serious error would be to link Islam and Muslims on the one hand and terrorism on the other", said Prime Minister Hariri, after their meeting.
Polls suggest that Le Pen is expected to win the first round of voting in presidential elections in April. "It's a double insult", he said.
"I note that when Marine Le Pen refuses to don the headscarf, it is criticized, but when Michelle Obama refused to do it in Saudi Arabia, it was considered admirable", she said, soliciting applause from the accompanying delegation.
"These difficulties are being overcome by the courage and generosity of Lebanon but this can not go on for ever". Many fled Lebanon during the Lebanese civil war from 1975-1990 and became French citizens and maintain the ability to vote in French elections.
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