French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen vows ban on public hijab if elected

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen vows ban on public hijab if elected
Marine Le Pen compared a penalty for wearing the Islamic headscarf in public to fining people for not putting a seat belt on.
2 min read
08 April, 2022
French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has a history of making Islamophobic statements [Getty]

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said on Thursday that she would ban the wearing of the hijab in public.

She said fines would be imposed on women wearing the Islamic headscarf if she wins France’s upcoming presidential elections.

Le Pen made the announcement during an interview with radio station RTL, where she said that a majority of the French population "supports a ban on the hijab in public", and compared the introduction of a penalty on the headscarf to fining people for not putting a seat belt on.

"It's a measure that the French people have been asking for, with 85 percent of the population wishing to no longer see the wearing of the headscarf in the streets," she said.

"[French people] have understood that in the last two decades that the headscarf has been used by Islamists as a uniform, as an advanced demonstration of fundamental Islam," Le Pen claimed.

However, the presidential candidate, who was recently photographed with a hijab-wearing girl during her election campaign, insisted that no one would be arrested for wearing the headscarf, despite her proposed ban.

Le Pen is the leader of the National Rally, formally known as the National Front, which was founded by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen.

The party is known for its far-right and anti-immigration rhetoric.

Despite her previous attempts to "de-demonise" the party, Marine Le Pen has been accused of making racist statements over many years.

In 2010 she compared Muslims performing prayers in the street to the Nazi occupation of France in the Second World War.

In 2021, she went on trial for breaking hate speech laws when she tweeted graphic pictures of Islamic State atrocities, in response to the 2015 Paris attacks. She was subsequently cleared of all charges.

France’s election campaigns have been marked by increased Islamophobia from candidates across most political parties, including far-right candidate Eric Zemmour.

Current president Emmanuel Macron has also put forward several policies which target religious freedom, with Muslims being the most affected.

The first round of voting is scheduled to take place on Sunday, with Le Pen and the incumbent Macron expected to make it to the second round.