Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Did Grace Mugabe's rise cause her husband’s downfall?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'When it comes to violence against women, the time to act is now'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Mnangagwa to be sworn in as Zimbabwe's president on Friday

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

The refugees of Manus Island

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai says he hasn't been asked to be part of new government

Read more

THE DEBATE

Palestinian reconciliation: Will Fatah, Hamas agreement succeed?

Read more

FOCUS

Could Pakistan be your next holiday destination?

Read more

THE POLITICAL BRIEF

Defeated presidential candidate Fillon bids farewell to French politics

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Charles Manson: Murderer and cult leader dies after 47 years in prison

Read more

france 24 France

France's Marine Le Pen faces trial for comment on Muslims

© François Monier, AFP |French far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen on September 17, 2015

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-09-22

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front (FN) party, will go on trial in October for comparing Muslim prayers in the street to the Nazi occupation, party officials and the Lyon prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.

Le Pen made the inflammatory comments in 2010 while campaigning to take over the FN’s leadership from her father, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.

“I’m sorry, but for those who really like to talk about World War II, if we’re talking about an occupation, we could talk about the [street prayers], because that is clearly an occupation of territory,” she told an FN rally in the eastern city of Lyon.

“It is an occupation of sections of the territory, of neighborhoods in which religious law applies – it is an occupation. There are no tanks, there are no soldiers, but it is an occupation nevertheless, and it weighs on people,” she added.

An initial investigation was launched into Le Pen’s comments but it was closed in 2011. The case was reopened in 2012 following a legal complaint by a rights group.

Le Pen was put under formal investigation in July 2014 after her immunity as a member of the European Parliament was lifted following a vote requested by French authorities.

She will face trial on October 20 on charges of “inciting discrimination over people’s religious beliefs”, the Lyon prosecutor’s office said.

Le Pen described the trial as a “scandal”.

“It is a scandal that a political leader can be sued for expressing her beliefs,” she told Reuters. “Those who denounce the illegal behaviour of fundamentalists are more likely to be sued than the fundamentalists who behave illegally.”

Le Pen, who polls say is likely to win a regional election in northern France in December, has widened the FN’s appeal since she took its helm in 2011 by expelling extremists and cracking down on anti-Semitism.

But it is unclear whether the trial, which will take place less than two months before the election in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, could harm Le Pen’s chances of winning.

Her opinion poll ratings have not suffered from a row with her father Jean-Marie, whom she expelled from the party in August for making comments dismissive of the Holocaust.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2015-09-22

  • FRANCE

    Is Marine Le Pen the voice of one of Twitter’s National Front groupies?

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French National Front founder Le Pen to fight party expulsion

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    FN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen to face disciplinary hearing

    Read more

COMMENT(S)