Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front party, has a message for French Jews: stop wearing kippahs if you want to join the fight against radical Islam.
“I mainly think the struggle against radical Islam should be a joint struggle and everyone should say, ‘There, we are sacrificing something,’” she told Israel’s Channel 2, questioned on her plan to prohibit religious symbols from public spaces and how it would affect Jews. “Maybe they will do with just wearing a hat, but it would be a step in the effort to stamp out radical Islam in France.”
Le Pen has pushed a radical version of France’s commitment to secularism, or laïcité, in order to crimp Islam, which she and other members of the far-right view as a threat to France and the West. Under her plan, the French would be banned from wearing “ostentatious” religious signs like the kippah, hijab or cross at university, in public transit, or on beaches.
With historical ties to anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi influences, the National Front has tried to clean up in the past decade, with Le Pen presenting the party as a protection for Jews against radical Islam. She is running a strong campaign for the presidency of France this spring.