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Marine Le Pen Refuses to Wear Headscarf, Cancels Islamic Leader Meeting

Marine Le Pen Refuses to Wear Headscarf, Cancels Islamic Leader Meeting

France's far-right National Front presidential candidate Marine Le Pen holds a presser at the government palace after a meeting with the Lebanese prime minister on Feb. 20, 2017, in Beirut. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 February 2017 06:40 AM

Marine Le Pen, one of France's leading presidential candidates, refused to wear a headscarf Monday to meet with a top Islamic leader in Lebanon and canceled the meeting instead.

Officials at Lebanon's leading Sunni authority, Dar al-Fatwa, said Le Pen was told beforehand that she needed to wear a headscarf to her meeting with Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian, according to Bloomberg.

The officials charged France's far-right National Front party candidate refused to wear the headscarf and declined to meet after she arrived at Dar al-Fatwa's Beirut headquarters and was reminded of the requirement.

"The highest Sunni authority in the world had not had this requirement, so I have no reason to," Le Pen said, according to Agence France-Presse, pointing to her 2015 visit to Al-Azhar, the Egyptian institution of Sunni Islamic learning.

"They did not cancel the meeting, so I thought they would accept that I will not wear the scarf," Le Pen continued, saying she told the authority Monday beforehand that she would not wear it. "They wanted to impose this on me, to present me with a fait accompli. Well, no one presents me with a fait accompli."

Affording to AFP, Dar al-Fatwa said in a statement Tuesday that its press office informed Le Pen she needed to wear the scarf per protocol.

"Dar al-Fatwa officials were surprised by her refusal to conform to this well-known rule," the statement said.

The trip to Lebanon was Le Pen's first foreign policy trip of France's election campaign season, where she met with President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and several of the country's Christian leaders.

Le Pen also was expected to meet with the head of the Maronite Christian Church Patriarch Beshara al-Rai, wrote Bloomberg.

The candidate pledged to rebuild France's relationship with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if elected president.

Le Pen has taken a hard stand on immigration, charging that French citizenship should be "either inherited or merited." She argued the country's illegal immigrants "have no reason to stay in France, these people broke the law the minute they set foot on French soil."

James Mates, Europe editor of ITV tweeted Tuesday that a recent poll indicated Le Pen would be a clear winner in the first round of voting for France's president.

 

 

The first round for presidential voting in France will be held April 23 with the second round run-off election on May 7.

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Marine Le Pen, one of France's leading presidential candidates, refused to wear a headscarf Monday to meet with a top Islamic leader in Lebanon and canceled the meeting instead.
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Wednesday, 22 February 2017 06:40 AM
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