Le Pen backs down on proposed hijab ban

Far-right French candidate Marine Le Pen’s team said it was currently focused on fighting ‘Salafism’ and ‘radical Islam’ – although the ban on wearing the hijab in public spaces public remains a “long-term objective”.

Far-right presidential candidate says she will focus on closing mosques and ‘radical’ preachers [JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty]

Banning the Islamic headscarf on the street is “no longer a priority” for French far-right leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, her campaign team told French media on Sunday.

The hijab ban “comes after the fight against Islamism, the closure of Salafist mosques and the reduction of their funds”, Le Pen’s campaign spokesman Sébastien Chenu told the French television channel. . BFM TV on Sunday.

“Once we shut down Salafist mosques, cut their funding, ban Salafism, believe me, we will have removed 90% of Islamic headscarves,” he added.

Le Pen is still considering banning the hijab in “all public buildings and all administrations”, Jordan Bardella, vice-president of Le Pen’s National Front, told radio. European 1 the same day.

However, the ban would not extend to the streets as the presidential candidate initially announced, Bardella said – although he said banning the wearing of hijabs in public spaces would remain a “goal long-term”.

The second round of the French presidential election on April 24 will pit incumbent President Emmanuel Macron against Le Pen.

The far-right candidate has promised to drastically reduce extra-European immigration and denounced what she perceives as the growing influence of “radical” Islam in French society.

Le Pen announced days before the first round of the French presidential election, held on April 10, that she planned to ban the hijab in public if elected. Her recent reversal could signal an attempt to woo more moderate right-wing voters to support her.

Macron said last week that he opposed Le Pen’s proposal to ban the wearing of the hijab in public places.

The latest polls foreshadow a tense and close duel between the two presidential candidates.

For now, Macron is expected to win by a much smaller margin than in 2017, when he beat Le Pen by winning two-thirds of the vote.

France banned Muslim women and girls from wearing headscarves in schools in 2004.

It banned the wearing of the niqab or burqa in public in 2011.

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