SHARE
COPY LINK

LE PEN

Le Pen calls for ban on religious headwear

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen called Friday for a ban on wearing Muslim veils and Jewish skullcaps in public, adding to religious tensions sparked by cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Le Pen calls for ban on religious headwear
Photo: Remi Noyon

In an interview with the Le Monde newspaper, Le Pen called for religious headwear to be banned "in stores, on public transport and on the streets."

Asked if the ban should apply to the Jewish skullcap, known as the kippah or yarmulke, as well as Muslim headwear, she said: "It is obvious that if the veil is banned, the kippah is banned in public as well."

Le Pen, who shocked the French elite by winning almost 18% in the first round of this year's presidential vote, also repeated calls for bans on public prayers, kosher and halal foods in schools and foreign government financing of mosques in France.

President Francois Hollande denounced her comments, saying: "Everything that tears people apart, opposes them and divides them is inappropriate and we must apply the rules, the only rules that we know, the rules of the Republic and secularism."

France was on alert at home and abroad on Friday following the publication of the obscene cartoons of the Prophet by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday.

Muslim leaders were calling for calm and urging militants not to defy a ban on protests in France over the cartoons.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

LE PEN

France’s far-right patriarch refused questioning in EU fraud case

Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of France's far-right National Front party, refused to submit to police questioning last month as part of an EU funding inquiry, claiming immunity as a European Parliament lawmaker, his adviser said Sunday.

France's far-right patriarch refused questioning in EU fraud case
Photos:AFP

Le Pen is one of several party MEPs suspected of using European Parliament funds provided for assistants to pay more than 20 France-based party staff.

If convicted, the party could be ordered to repay €7 million ($8.2 million), and the judges pre-emptively seized the subsidies.

An EU tribunal has already determined that Le Pen must reimburse €320,000.

But when police from France's anti-corruption squad tried to question him last month at his office just outside Paris, he claimed MEP immunity and ordered them to leave.

“He was prepared to receive them, but they had such arrogant attitudes which Jean-Marie Le Pen refused to accept,” his adviser Lorrain de Saint Affrique told AFP, confirming a report in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

Le Pen, 90, sits as an independent after being thrown out of his party by his daughter Marine Le Pen in 2015 for saying the Nazi gas chambers were a mere “detail” of history.

He has also often made disparaging statements against Muslims and Roma which have earned him a string of hate speech convictions.

His daughter has renamed the party the National Rally in an effort to shed its xenophobic and anti-Semitic image.

The EU funding inquiry has led French judges to withhold €2 million of public subsidies for the party, a move which Marine Le Pen has denounced as a “death sentence”.

Without the funds, she warns the party will be bankrupt by September.

SHOW COMMENTS