Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen cancelled a meeting with Lebanon’s Grand Mufti after refusing to wear a headscarf.
“You can pass on my respects to the Grand Mufti, but I will not cover myself up,” she told reporters.
The front National leader was told by Lebanese officials that she would have to wear a veil for her audience with Grand Sunni Muslim Mufti, Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian.
Video footage shows Ms Le Pen at the entrance to his office shaking her head.
Ms Le Pen said that in a meeting in Egypt with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar – considered by some Muslims to be the highest authority in Sunni Islamic thought – and she had not been forced to cover her head.
“He did not have this demand,” said Ms Le Pen. “But it’s not a problem, you can pass on to the Grand Mufti my considerations, but I am not putting the veil on.”
Once told that customs were different in Lebanon, Ms Le Pen walked out of the building and left in her car.
Her aides had reportedly been informed before her visit that she would be required to wear a headscarf.
The anti-immigration politician made a three-day visit to Lebanon this week to meet officials in an effort to bolster her presidential credentials two months before the first round of voting in the French presidential election.
Polls suggest Ms Le Pen is likely to get the highest proportion of votes in the first round of voting in April, but then lose to a more mainstream candidate in the second round in May.
The latest poll by OpinionWay on Monday showed support for the far-right candidate had risen by 1 percentage point to 27 per cent.
Her rivals, the socialist Emmanuel Macron and conservative candidate François Fillon, remained at an unchanged at 20 per cent each.
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