French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen canceled a meeting with a key Arab leader Tuesday after he insisted she wear a headscarf.
The National Front leader who is a frontrunner for president was scheduled to meet with Lebanon’s grand mufti, an important cleric for Sunni Muslims, but backed out after it was made clear she was expected to cover her head, Reuters reports.
“You can pass my respects to the grand mufti, but I will not cover myself up,” Le Pen told the press.
Le Pen had not been required to wear a headscarf when she met with Christian President Michel Aoun and Sunni Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri Monday. But a press official for the grand mufti said his aides made it to clear to Le Pen’s staff ahead of their scheduled meeting Tuesday that a head scarf was required, and that his office was “surprised” by her refusal to cover her head.
France bans overt signs of religion, including headscarves, in public schools and in the public service, and Le Pen favors a total ban on displays of religion in all public places.
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