Marine Le Pen cancels Lebanon meeting over headscarf request
Feb 23 2017
Ms Le Pen also met Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, who cautioned against associating his religion with the terrorist attacks of the extremists who have repeatedly targeted France.
But while Ms Le Pen told reporters she was baffled by the requirement, a spokesman for Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian has revealed she was informed before the meeting that she had to wear the head covering.
She was also holding meetings with Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil and Christian Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai and Christian Lebanese politician Samir Geagea.
France has close ties with Lebanon, its former colony. His 30-minute meeting with the daughter drew some criticism. One protester raised a drawing of Le Pen between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump, with "Neo-fascists" emblazoned underneath.
Polls now show Le Pen winning the first round of the election, but failing to garner the more than 50 percent of voters needed for victory in the second round.
During the meeting, Hariri, leader of the country's Sunni Muslims, called upon the West "not to equate Islam and terrorism".
Lebanon has been heavily affected by the Syrian civil war, and has taken in more than one million Syrians displaced by the conflict. He described Assad as "the biggest terrorist in Syria and the region".
Hariri's father Rafik, a former Prime Minister, was assassinated in a massive auto bomb attack in Beirut in 2005 which the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is widely suspected of perpetrating.
Griset was put into custody along with Le Pen's bodyguard Thierry Legier, who was later released, it added.
The declaration pushed the euro up against the dollar, and French bond yields, which had risen because of fears of rising support for Le Pen, fell about 5 basis points. Following this, she walked back to her auto and left.
French investigators probing an alleged fake jobs scam by the far-right National Front (FN) raided the group's headquarters outside Paris on Monday, the party said. The party denies the claims.
Later Tuesday, a group of Lebanese held a small protest in Beirut against Le Pen's visit. She replaced her father as president in 2011.
According to the poll published for L'Express magazine and BFM TV, Le Pen is ahead in voting intention in the first round, with 27-28 percent, and Fillon second at 20-21 percent.