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The leader of France's far-right Front National political party and presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen (C) refuses to wear headscarf before her meeting with Lebanon's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, in Beirut, Lebanon on February 21, 2017.
Ratib Al Safadi—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

France’s far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen canceled a meeting with Lebanon’s grand mufti on Tuesday after refusing to wear a headscarf for the encounter.

The media office of Lebanon’s grand mufti, Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian, told Reuters they were “surprised by her refusal” seeing as Le Pen’s aides were told beforehand that a headscarf would be required for the meeting.

But Le Pen told reporters that she hadn’t been required to wear a headscarf when she met Egypt’s top cleric in 2015. “I met the grand mufti of Al-Azhar,” she said. “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.”

The National Front leader, who is on a three-day visit to Lebanon, met with Christian President Michel Aoun and Sunni Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Monday.

French law currently bans headscarves for high school pupils and those in public service. Le Pen wants headscarves banished from all public places.


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