Le Pen in Lebanon controversy over headscarf refusal


24 February, 2017

Ms Le Pen's bodyguard and chief of staff were held by police yesterday for questioning over the investigation.

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen on Tuesday canceled a meeting with Lebanon's grand mufti, Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian, after refusing orders to cover herself with a headscarf.

A spokesman said the meeting was not unprecedented and added that Tony Blair had met Nicolas Sarkozy at Number 10 when he was running for the presidency in 2007.

Shortly after she arrived at his office Tuesday morning, one of his aides handed her out a white headscarf to put on.

Leader of Lebanon's Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Walid Jumblatt considered remarks made by French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen during her recent visit to Lebanon an "insult" to Lebanese people and Syrians, the Anadolu Agency reported yesterday.

Meanwhile, Assad is considered as the main responsible for the ongoing civil war in Syria which started in 2011, instigate by the Assad regime which cracked down on pro-democracy protests that had began as part of the Arab Spring uprisings, with unexpected ferocity and disproportionate force.

Aoun knew Le Pen's father, National Front founding leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, for years during Aoun's exile in France in the 1990s. Her National Front party claims Muslim immigration to France boosts terror risks, costs jobs, drains the nation's treasury and poses a threat to French civilization.

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Le Pen is consistently tipped in opinion polls to win the April 23 first round of the two-round race but she is also tipped to lose the two-way runoff ballot on May 7 - to either Fillon or another independent candidate, the centrist Emmanuel Macron.

Israel, which is next door to Lebanon, expects visitors to wear kippahs - a hat that covers the top of the head - when appropriate, for example.

Commenting on the Syrian refugee crisis, she said: "It is significant that this crisis can not continue due to its grave repercussions that impact the economy, health systems and other aspects".

French law already bans headscarves in all classrooms, and Ms Le Pen has proposed upgrading the ban of the headwear and other "ostentatious" religious symbols to all public places.

"The mufti's office regrets this inappropriate behaviour in such meetings", the statement said.

In the fractious politics of Lebanon, President Michel Aoun, whom Le Pen also met, supports Assad and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah working to bolster him.

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