French Leader Sparks Outrage After Proposing a Ban on All Religious Symbols to 'Fight Advance of Islam'

Oct 19, 2016 01:01 PM EDT
In an effort to prevent radical Islam from advancing across France, National Front leader Marine Le Pen has proposed that all religious garb - including Christian crucifixes and prayer beads to the Jewish kippah - be banned from the country.
French National Front (FN) political party leader Marine Le Pen delivers a speech during a FN political rally in Frejus, France September 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

In an effort to prevent radical Islam from advancing across France, National Front leader Marine Le Pen has proposed that all religious garb - including Christian crucifixes and prayer beads to the Jewish kippah - be banned from the country.

"I know this is a sacrifice, but I believe that the situation is too serious today," she explained during a live interview with host Jean-Jacques Bourdin on his morning radio program Bourdin Direct, according to YNet News. "Every French person must understand that we are asking of them a sacrifice in order to fight the advance of political Islam."

Le Pen later a clarified a "conspicuous" religious symbol is everything from jewelry to coverings - but Catholics need not worry, as "the Catholic religion doesn't have conspicuous symbols".

Continuing her reasons for the ban, she said it will "confront the rise in power and extremely strong pressure of political Islam that uses women and the veil to advance their propositions."

When asked if religious police would be established to enforce the ban, Le Pen said that the national police force could enforce such a law, along with all other normal legislation.

Unsurprisingly, the Jewish community reacted with outrage to the proposed ban, arguing that the problem isn't religious imagery - it's radical Islam.

"She is confused and mistaken. It isn't kippahs or burkas or crosses that are causing harm. It is radical Islam that is killing people, and that is what we need to fight," said Meyer Habib, a Jewish member of the French parliament.

Habib said that instead of worrying about what people wear France should learn from Israel. "We should learn from the way Israel is struggling with it (Islamic terrorism). It's the same terror. Why are we even talking about burkas and hijabs? This is a sign of extremist political views and radical nationalism."

He added that those who wear the kippah "would sooner leave France" than remove the religious head piece.

"The kippah and the Jews never killed anyone," Habib said. "If they were to say tomorrow that we have to remove the kippah, then they would be saying that there is no place in France for the Jews. That won't happen. We are very tied to France. Unfortunately, we remember how the Jews were forced to wear the yellow patch on our clothes, so France has a moral debt to the Jews."

RT notes that France has been in a state of unrest over the role of Islam in the country in the last few months. At least 84 people were killed when a truck driven by an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) sympathizer plowed through crowds during Bastille Day celebrations, and in November 2015, at least 130 people were killed in attacks in Paris by Islamic State sympathizers.

Since then, a number of French mayors have implemented bans on burkinis in their region, a ban which was overturned by the French High Court.

Meanwhile, a recently released 660-page book called 'A President Should Not Say That', has revealed that French President Francois Hollande said there were too many illegal migrants and suggested a "veiled woman" could be the female symbol of France.

"'It's true there's a problem with Islam, it's true. It's not in doubt," he said, according to The Daily Mail.

Tags : Marine Le Pen, France, radical Islam, Islamic terror, Radical Islam in France, Kippah, Jewish cross, burka, burkini