Le Pen provokes indignation by implying four French hostages might have converted to Islam
Three of th four men released after three years in the Sahara wore beards
Thursday 31 October 2013
The far right leader Marine Le Pen has provoked widespread indignation yesterday by implying that four French hostages released in the Sahara might have been converted to radical Islam during their three years in captivity.
Ms Le Pen told a radio interviewer that she was “uneasy” about the “astonishing” beards and “strange” clothes worn by three of the men when they arrived back in Paris on Wednesday. She also complained that the hostages had been oddly silent since their release.
The president of the National Front, who has tried to launder her party’s xenophobic image, was accused by mainstream politicians of “coming out in her true colours” and making “indecent” and “unpatriotic” remarks. One senior Socialist politician suggested in a tweet that Ms Le Pen was “writing the script for Homeland 4” – the American TV drama series about a captured US marine sergeant brainwashed by Islamist militants.
Ms Le Pen is soaring in the opinion polls after walking a tight-rope between populism and Islam-baiting since she replaced her father as the NF leader in January 2011. She seemed to be aware yesterday that she had committed a potentially serious blunder.
In a second statement, she said that she had expressed herself “clumsily”. She tried to steer the debate back towards reports that the French government had paid around €25m to ransom the four men – breaking a solemn pledge by President François Hollande.
Pierre Legrand, Daniel Larribe, Thierry Dol and Marc Féret were kidnapped by Islamist rebels from uranium mining camp in Niger in September 2010. When they arrived back in France on Wednesday, three of them wore the kind of beards sometimes worn by Islamic militants and typically Saharan cloaks or “cheches”.
In a radio interview, Ms Le Pen said; “They were very uncommunicative to say the least. Two of them were wearing quite astonishing beards. Their clothing was strange…They owe us an explanation.”
Asked to state clearly whether she was alleging that the quartet had been “Islamised”, Ms Le Pen said. “I am not a psychiatrist. I’m not going to theorise. That’s not my role,” she said.
The spokesman for the ruling Socialist Party, Eduardo Rihan Cypel, said: “It seems that Ms Le Pen is so blinded by her hatred of Muslims that she cannot share in the whole nation’s joy at the release of our hostages.”
Pascale Robert, the mother of one of the released men, Pierre Legrand, said she hoped that Ms Le Pen would never have to “live through” what she had endured in the last three years. Wearing beards and Saharan clothes was “a form of solidarity with the remaining hostages out there,” she said. “It’s their decision and we find it very touching.”
French diplomats said that, judging by initial debriefing of the quartet, there could be no question of them having been “turned” or brainwashed.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
From rainforests and reefs to beaches and boat trips
The Silicon Valley awards which treat scientists like rockstars
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
Mystery of Epping Forest 'big cat' is solved
North Korea: First Kim Jong-un orders execution of uncle - now it emerges that victim's wife was involved in decision to execute him
Australia incest case: Deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
Woman who miscarried in private prison 'made to clean up after herself,' court told
Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
- 1 Italian court annuls prison sentence for elderly paedophile after 11-year-old victim tells investigators in Catanzaro that she loves him
- 2 Australia incest case: Deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 3 Woman who miscarried in private prison 'made to clean up after herself,' court told
- 4 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- 5 Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
- < Previous
- Next >
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: QA Tester Automation R...
£24000 - £24250 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£800 - £875 per day: Harrington Starr: Programme Manager, (OTC Trading, CMMI, ...
£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: KS2 Primary TeacherRandstad Ed...