The two candidates turn upside down on a topic that highlights one of his strict associations with secularism in the spirit of the 1905 law, while the other highlights the fight against political Islam. But the two contenders for the Elysee also play tightrope walks.
A reference to Muslim voters
In the Alsatian capital, Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday, challenged the “feminism” of a veiled young woman, considering her so “beautiful” that his interlocutor who declares wearing this religious sign “by his choice”, can ask him such a question. “It’s the best answer to all this bullshit I can hear,” said the candidate dealing with Marine Le Pen.
After two days in Le Havre, he pretended to ask: “No country in the world bans the headscarf on the highway, do you want to be first?” referring to Muslim voters who largely voted for Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round (69%) according to an Ifop poll for “La Croix”.
Emmanuel Macron pretends to be the champion of the defense of all religious freedoms: “If the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen bans the headscarf, under our constitution, she will have to ban the yarmulke, she has to ban the cross, she will. She should ban other religious symbols.”
But the candidate also seeks to settle the criticisms raised by the so-called “anti-separatist” law, accused of stoking mistrust of Islam, which the majority has always defended.
Disagreements in the National Assembly
At the time of the discussions on this particular law, Marine Le Pen proposed a set of measures “aimed at combating Islamic ideologies”, including the headscarf ban included in her presidential programme. The far-right candidate is proposing a fine for wearing a headscarf in public, which is the equivalent of an Islamic “attire”. “Women who don’t wear them are isolated, victims of pressure, humiliated,” she says.
Facing a veiled woman in Vaucluse, she remained straight in her shoes without wanting to prolong the exchange too much.
On Friday, BFMTV highlighted “a ban on headscarves is essential,” reversing comments he had made a few seconds earlier in which she emphasized it was not the “essential and most urgent component” of his bill.