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‘What’s the scarf doing in politics?’ Muslim headscarves develop into challenge in French presidential marketing campaign

PERTUIS, France (AP) — Muslim headscarves took middle stage in France’s presidential marketing campaign Friday amid far-right candidate Marine Le Pen’s push to ban them within the nation with western Europe’s largest Muslim inhabitants.

Each she and rival Emmanuel Macron, going through a tightly contested April 24 runoff, had been confronted by girls in headscarves who requested why their clothes selections needs to be caught up in politics. Macron wouldn’t ban spiritual clothes, however he has overseen the closure of a number of mosques and Islamic teams. And plenty of Muslims really feel the presidential marketing campaign has unfairly stigmatized their religion.

At a farmers’ market within the southern city of Pertuis, a lady in a blue-and-white head overlaying approached Le Pen because the candidate weaved previous fishmongers and distributors to greet supporters.

“What’s the scarf doing in politics?” the girl requested.

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Le Pen defended her place, calling the scarf a “uniform imposed over time by individuals who have a radical imaginative and prescient of Islam.”

“That’s not true,” countered the girl. “I began to put on the veil after I was an older girl … For me it’s a signal of being a grandmother.” The girl famous that her father had served within the French navy for 15 years.

Le Pen’s opposition to the scarf has encapsulated what her critics say makes her harmful to French unity, by stigmatizing hundreds of thousands of French Muslims. Le Pen would additionally slash immigration and needs to outlaw ritual slaughter, which might prohibit French Muslims’ and Jews’ entry to kosher and halal meat.

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Macron too debated a lady in a Muslim scarf on Friday in a full of life change on broadcaster France-Information. He sought to distance himself from Le Pen by saying he wouldn’t change any legal guidelines, however defended an current ban on headscarves in faculties as a part of France’s secular rules.

The girl, Sara El Attar, mentioned she had felt insulted by earlier feedback by Macron the place he’d prompt that headscarves destabilize relations between women and men.

French girls “have been castigated these current years for a easy scarf, with none chief deigning to denounce this injustice,” she mentioned. And he or she repeated the argument that many veiled girls in France make: That folks mistakenly assume they’re veiled not by way of private alternative, however as a result of males make them put on headscarves.

Macron sought to defend his report. “For me personally, the query of the scarf just isn’t an obsession,” Macron mentioned.

However critics say his authorities stoked prejudice towards Muslims by cracking down on what it has claimed are efforts by some Muslims to carve out areas in France for stricter interpretations of Islam. The federal government has gone after some faculties, mosques and Islamic associations.

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