Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen cancelled a meeting with Lebanon’s Grand Mufti after refusing to wear a headscarf. “You can pass on my respects to the Grand Mufti, but I will not cover myself up,” she told reporters.
The cleric’s press office said Le Pen’s aides had been informed beforehand that a headscarf was required for the meeting and had been “surprised by her refusal”.
Current law in France prohibits public officials or high-school students from wearing headscarves, citing the separation of church and state and women’s rights. Le Pen has stated that if elected, she wants to ban headscarves from being worn in public places altogether.
Vice President of the Front National party, Florian Philippot, tweeted in French after Le Pen’s refusal Tuesday, praising her decision. “In Lebanon, Marine refuses to wear the veil. A beautiful message of freedom and emancipation sent to women in France and the world!”
Translated: In Lebanon, Marine refuses to wear the veil. A magnificent message of freedom and emancipation sent to the women of France and the world!