Marine Le Pen cancels meeting with Lebanon's grand mufti over headscarf demand

An aide of Lebanon's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian, right, holds a head scarf as he tries to convince French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen to wear it during her meeting with the Mufti. Photo: AP Photo/Hussein Malla

France's far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has refused to go into a meeting with Lebanon's grand mufti after his aides asked her to wear a headscarf.

Ms Le Pen is on a three-day visit to Lebanon this week and has met senior officials.

She was scheduled to meet Grand Sunni Muslim Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian this morning.

Shortly after she arrived at his office, one of his aides tried to give her a headscarf to put on but she refused.

Ms Le Pen said she had met in the past with the grand mufti of Egypt's Al-Azhar, one of the world's top Sunni clerics, without wearing a veil.

She met Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb in 2015 and photos of the meeting show her with the cleric without wearing a veil.

Once she was told that customs are different in Lebanon, Ms Le Pen walked toward her car and left.

The mufti's office issued a statement saying Ms Le Pen was told in advance through one of her aides that she would have to put on a headscarf during the meeting.

"This is the protocol," the statement said.

"The mufti's office regrets this inappropriate behaviour in such meetings."

- AP

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