French far-right leader calls for kippa ban

Click photo to download. Caption: Marine Le Pen. Credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen.( French politician Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party, sparked controversy this weekend with a call to ban traditional Jewish head coverings known as kippot.

Le Pen, known for her anti-immigrant and nationalist positions, has long called on banning Islamic head coverings such as the niqab and burka, and has now added kippot to the fray.

“Obviously, if the veil is banned, the kippa [should be] banned in public as well,” the French daily Le Monde quoted Le Pen in an interview published Sept. 21.

French President Francois Hollande denounced Le Pen’s call for a ban on religious head coverings, saying, “Everything that tears people apart ... divides them, is inappropriate.”

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,” according to the Jerusalem Post.

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, said in a statement that Le Pen’s comments “encourage the growth of bigotry in a nation to whom the world looks for democratic and tolerant leadership.”

France’s National Front party was founded in the 1970s by Jean-Marie Le Pen. Marine, who succeeded her father, placed third in last spring’s presidential election.

Posted on September 24, 2012 .