French right-wing politician Marine Le Pen said she supports a ban on wearing yarmulkes in public in addition to a ban on Muslim headscarves.
“Obviously, if the veil is banned, the yarmulke [should be] banned in public as well,” the French daily Le Monde quoted Le Pen, leader of the National Front, as saying in an interview published on Friday.
Le Pen’s anti-immigrant, anti-Islamist party has long supported a ban on Muslim headscarves, veils and burkas. France’s minister of education, Vincent Peillon, said Le Pen “was fanning the flames of fundamentalism” with her statements. “She is the main fundamentalist,” he said.
The president of the Conference of European Rabbis, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, said Le Pen has “once again exposed herself as being unworthy of the mainstream French political space.”
“Her suggestion of a ban on wearing a kipah in public takes us straight back to the times of state-sponsored anti-Semitism under the Vichy regime,” he said. “Any sane politician will disqualify these comments as total madness and profoundly insulting to the French ideals of freedom of expression.”
Founded in the 1970s by Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine Le Pen’s father, the National Front has established itself as France’s third-largest political party. In 2002, it made it to the second round in the presidential elections, clinching 17 percent of the vote.JTA