Though she sent him her regards, the populist candidate Marine Le Pen refused to wear a head covering to meet the Sunni Muslim cleric.
In the new video below, we read that the National Front party candidate Marine Le Pen refused to veil herself. That may be a mistranslation because other stories refer to a headscarf.
French far-right National Front presidential candidate Marine Le Pen canceled a meeting on Tuesday with Lebanon’s grand mufti, its top cleric for Sunni Muslims, after refusing to wear a headscarf for the encounter.
Le Pen, among the frontrunners for the presidency, is using a two-day visit to Lebanon to bolster her foreign policy credentials nine weeks from the April 23 first round, and may be partly targeting potential Franco-Lebanese votes.
Many Lebanese fled to France, Lebanon’s former colonial power, during their country’s 1975-1990 civil war and became French citizens.
After meeting Christian President Michel Aoun – her first public handshake with a head of state – and Sunni Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Monday, she had been scheduled to meet the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian
He heads the Dar al-Fatwa, the top religious authority for Sunni Muslims in the multireligious country.
“I met the grand mufti of Al-Azhar,” she told reporters, referring to a visit in 2015 to Cairo’s 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning. “The highest Sunni authority didn’t have this requirement, but it doesn’t matter.
“You can pass on my respects to the grand mufti, but I will not cover myself up,” she said.
The Reuters story claims that Le Pen had been told of the requirements ahead of time. Perhaps she chose in advance to make an issue of the “dress code” requirement. Perhaps the claim that she’d been informed is false. Or maybe a memo was sent to her assistants but she didn’t know about it.
In this story, the garment is referred to as a “shawl.” It also reports the Muslims accused her of “improper behavior.”
The Islamic headscarf known as the Hijab is also banned in schools and public buildings, but Le Pen has said she wants to extend the ban to all public places.
Her stance however may open her up to accusations of hypocrisy as she regularly tells her supporters at rallies that foreign migrants in France should either adapt to French rules and culture or go home.
Should she have adapted to the cultural norms of where she was?
To answer that question: When hundreds of thousands of French refugees flood into Lebanon, and get Lebanese welfare, then Lebanon might understandably pass laws to preserve their culture. But there is no comparison between what Le Pen is addressing in France and what she was dealing with in Lebanon.
If journalists in the mainstream media dream that Le Pen has hurt her chances of winning the next election by refusing to wear Muslim garb, they just show they understand nothing about the populist revolution that is sweeping through Europe. Le Pen has only increased her popularity by taking a stand.