Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has vowed to ban the wearing of head scarves in public, should she be elected during a second round of voting next Sunday.
Religious freedom is among the top issues for French voters in the tight race between Le Pen and incumbent Emmanuel Macron.
Le Pen, an anti-immigration, French nationalist, says the head scarf is “an Islamist uniform” and a sign of commitment to an anti-Western interpretation of the Muslim faith.
“The head scarf is in reality an Islamist uniform, it is not a Muslim uniform, and that makes all the difference. It is the uniform of an ideology, not of a religion,” said Le Pen during a Franc Inter radio interview.
“This ban … is based on the battle against Islamist ideologies,” she also said, arguing it it is a response to a direct threat, rather than a commitment to France’s model of secular society, a concept called laïcité.
Le Pen has also said she will ban the ritual slaughter of animals required to produce both halal and kosher meat.