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Le Pen acquitted over Muslim prayers rant

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Le Pen acquitted over Muslim prayers rant
14:18 CET+01:00
Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front, was acquitted on Tuesday on charges of inciting hatred after comparing Muslim street prayers to the Nazi occupation.
The 47-year-old had been accused of "inciting discrimination, violence or hatred toward a group of people based on their religious beliefs" over the comments made in December 2010.
 
Le Pen who has worked to soften the image of her party, had appeared in a court in the central city of Lyon over the comments she made while campaigning to take over the leadership of the party from her father five years ago.

In the speech she denounced the holding of Muslim prayers in the streets of France - where a dearth of mosques had forced many to pray outside - saying: "For those who like to talk about World War II, to talk about occupation, we could talk about, for once, the occupation of our territory."

"It is an occupation of part of the territory, suburbs where religious law is applied. Sure, there are no armoured vehicles, no soldiers, but it is an occupation nonetheless and it weighs on residents."

The move to put her on trial comes after the European Parliament has stripped the National Front leader of her immunity as a lawmaker in July 2013.

That decision left her open to face prosecution in France, but on Tuesday the court in Lyon cleared her of all charges.

While relieved of these charges, Le Pen is still facing legal woes.

Her party has also been slapped with charges of fraud as part of an ongoing probe into campaign financing.

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