Le Pen in headscarf row in Lebanon
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.