Friday 23 February 2018

Le Pen in headscarf row in Lebanon

Marine Le Pen: cancelled meeting. Picture: Jamal Saidi/Reuters
Marine Le Pen: cancelled meeting. Picture: Jamal Saidi/Reuters

Simon Carraud

French far-right Front National presidential candidate Marine Le Pen cancelled a meeting yesterday with Lebanon's grand mufti, its top cleric for Sunni Muslims, after refusing to wear a headscarf.

Ms Le Pen, among the frontrunners for the presidency, is using a two-day visit to Lebanon to bolster her foreign policy credentials nine weeks from the April 23 first round, and may be partly targeting potential Franco-Lebanese votes.

Many Lebanese fled to France, Lebanon's former colonial power, during their country's 1975-1990 civil war and became French citizens.

After meeting Christian President Michel Aoun - her first public handshake with a head of state - and Sunni Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Monday, she had been scheduled to meet the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian.

The cleric's press office said Ms Le Pen's aides had been informed beforehand that a headscarf was required for the meeting and had been "surprised by her refusal".

"You can pass on my respects to the grand mufti, but I will not cover myself up," she reportedly said.

Irish Independent

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