Macron slams Le Pen’s proposed hijab ban

Centrist incumbent President Macron warned that Le Pen’s proposed ban on the Islamic headscarf would “divide the country” – but said he hoped women would “ditch the veil themselves”.

Elabe Voting Intentions Poll Shows Macron Leads by Single Percentage Point [AFP via Getty]

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday condemned a proposal by far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen to ban the wearing of the Islamic headscarf in public, two days before the first round of the election.

Le Pen, who has previously been criticized for her Islamophobic remarks, on Thursday called the hijab “an Islamist uniform” and compared a penalty for wearing a headscarf to a fine for not wearing a seatbelt during a race. travel by car.

Macron informed viewers of a live broadcast by French digital media Raw that Le Pen’s comment showed that his attempts to make his far-right National Front party more palatable to the public had simply been an act to win votes.

“We had forgotten who she really was,” Macron said.

“Banning all religious symbols in public is not secularism“, he said, referring to the French brand of secularism of the state.

“If far-right candidate Marine Le Pen bans the veil, then according to our constitution she should ban the yarmulke, she should ban the crucifix.”

Instead, he said he hoped the women would “let go of the veil themselves.”

Macron’s comments came as the latest opinion polls show the gap between him and Le Pen narrowing.

Friday’s poll by research and advisory firm Elabe found that 26% of voters planned to vote for Macron, down 2% from their April 5 poll.

Le Pen trailed by just 1%, with a quarter of voters saying they planned to vote for the National Front candidate.

Left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon ranked third with 17.5%.

The election campaign was marred by Islamophobia, with far-right candidate Eric Zemmour also promising to implement anti-Islamic policies if elected.

During his five years as president, Macron has been accused of adopting Islamophobic policies in the name of French secularism, in part using an anti-separatism law approved last year.

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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