Le Pen walks out of Beirut meeting in headscarf 'stunt'

Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen refused on Tuesday to wear a head scarf to meet with Lebanon's top Sunni Muslim cleric.

The anti-immigration politician made a three-day visit to Lebanon this week to meet officials in an effort to bolster her presidential credentials two months before the first round of voting in the French presidential election. Le Pen reportedly told her hosts that she hadn't worn a veil when meeting Egypt's Grand Mufti of al-Azhar in May 2015, and she would not do so now, according to Lebanon's state-run National News Agency. "I met the grand mufti of Al-Azhar", she said. So it's a no.

Later, the mufti's office issued a statement saying that Le Pen was told in advance through one of her aides that she will have to put a headscarf during the meeting with the mufti.

Once told that customs were different in Lebanon, Le Pen walked out of the building and left in her auto, according to the report.

French law now bans headscarves for high school pupils and those in public service.

The statement detailed how the mufti's aides tried to give her the headscarf and that Le Pen refused to take it.

On Monday Ms Le Pen met the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and said she believed keeping Syria's Bashar al Assad as the best way to defeat Islamic State in Syria.

She is tipped to win the first round of France's presidential election in April, but then lose the decisive second round to another mainstream candidate in May.

  • Leroy Wright