Marine Le Pen Refusing To Wear A Headscarf To Meet Lebanon’s Mufti Is A Publicity Stunt, Not Standing Up For Women

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It was almost going to pass without the media splash that Marine Le Pen wanted her Lebanese visit to generate, but she finally got her wish towards the end of her visit to the only country so far whose officials have agreed to receive the far-right presidential candidate.

From her first-ever handshake with a head of state, to the visit making fake news website Breitbart headlines with it being to see Lebanon’s persecuted Christians, the biggest splash is how Marine Le Pen refused to wear a headscarf to meet Lebanon’s Sunni Grand Mufti Abdel-Latif Daryan.

It was only a matter of time that the Vice President of Le Pen’s party tweeted the following:

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His tweet, attached to a screenshot of a Le Figaro headline saying “Marine Le Pen refuses to wear the veil,” translates to: “In Lebanon, Marine refuses to wear the veil. A wonderful message of liberty and emancipation sent to the women of France and the world.”

Of course, this whole affair is anything but a “wonderful message of liberty emancipation sent to the women of France and the world.”

As she arrived to meet the Mufti, Marine Le Pen was faced by a man – as pictured above – holding out a veil for her to cover her head. She feigned surprise before refusing to wear it with the argument being that she had met the Mufti of Al-Azhar previously and didn’t face such requirements, in reference to a 2015 visit.

Her argument, however, is worthless. Marine Le Pen was informed yesterday that the Mufti would only meet her if she covered her head with a scarf, but she still showed up anyway with the only purpose to be as controversial as she possible.

It was nothing but a publicity stunt, and it worked. These are the current top news google results about Marine Le Pen:

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People like Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump know that the best way to get attention is to be as controversial, loud, and offensive as possible. In a world of post truth and alternative facts, that is the only thing that gets attention and gives them the spotlight they so desperately seek.

By orchestrating a charade of refusing to wear a headscarf even though she had known the day prior that she’d be required to do so, Marine Le Pen acquired the brightest spotlight of her Lebanese trip: one in which those that support her will think – as her VP said – that she’s standing up for women rights, except she’s not.

This is not about the validity of the request to wear the headscarf, per se, as that is another topic and a whole other discussion. I’m personally against forcing anyone to do something against their will, be it Le Pen or headscarf or otherwise. But I also believe that is my duty as a person to be mindful of the situation I am willingly putting myself in. If that situation – in this case being asked to put a scarf on – isn’t something I’d be comfortable in, then I simply would opt out of it.

Women in Lebanon don’t need Marine Le Pen to stand up for them, especially when the only facet of Lebanese women she cares about are those who wear a Cross around their neck or who roll their R’s as she does. Simply put, Lebanese women are not required to cover up. They are not coerced to wear the veil to walk on our streets. They can wear whatever they want as long as they’re comfortable wearing it. They are the most liberated of women in the region. Anything other than this is misinformation.

That is not to say that Lebanese women have equal rights with their male counterpart. The struggle is continuous. They are fighting for their rights as diligently as possible. It was only a few days ago that they scored a major victory with having a penal code law that’s detrimental to their well-being be completely scraped off. That occurred without Le Pen’s help. Lebanese women don’t need a woman who fosters the kind of hateful, divisive, phobia-centric rhetoric that Le Pen spews, and they sure as hell are not represented by having such a farce as this be painted as “fighting” for them.

It is unfortunate that Lebanon’s mufti played right into Le Pen’s hand. If I were him, I would’ve simply not put that requirement in place in order to meet someone who’s as notoriously anti-Muslim as she is, or I would’ve refused to meet her in the first place. He wouldn’t be the first religious or political figure to shut her out, and the message sent through such a refusal or through refusing her the controversy she so desperately sought out would’ve been much better.

Regardless, if Marine Le Pen wants the presidency she’s seeking with desperation, she should learn to respect the various cultures of a world in which she’ll possibly be heading one of the top states, some of which require her to let go of her hate and phobias in order to have a conversation. But she is who she is. I bet she’s the kind of people who refuse to take off their shoes before entering a mosque, or who refuse to wear a yarmulke before entering a synagogue.

If Le Pen wanted to meet the Pope she’d be asked to wear black clothes and a matching mantilla, or a lace veil worn over the head. I bet she won’t have an issue with that. Respecting differing cultures is key, and with people like her that will never happen. Until then, I hope people can see through the bullshit.

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Alt-Right News Website Breitbart Thinks Christians In Lebanon Are Persecuted

breitbart-lebanon-christians-persecutedApart from having her as their French presidential poster child, alt-right news website Breitbart, whose spread of fear, hate, xenophobia, and racism under the guise of “political-uncorectness” had a lot to do with the rise of Trump and friends, decided that Marine Le Pen is in Lebanon to meet the country’s persecuted Christians.

Of course, the purpose of this visit was always for the French far-right candidate to “express solidarity with Middle Eastern Christians.” As I said in my post on the matter, perhaps that purpose is better served in areas where Christians are actually persecuted?

Not according to Breitbart, of course. To them, what are countries over there *points disgustingly to the Middle East* but a pile of horrifying terrorist places feeding off Christian pure-blood and ruining the world for everything else?

So dear Breitbart, can you please point me – a Lebanese who was raised Maronite Christian – in the direction of this scary entity that is persecuting me, as I enjoy this fine Lebanese morning while Marine Le Pen enjoys her visit to the only country that’s accepted to host her so far, while I get nauseated reading your website?

I am sorry to inform you that your feisty title to get your Western Islamophobic readers up in arms and to portray Marine Le Pen as the Joan of Arc of France’s fight against the world will not come at the expense of my country or your dramatization of my situation in it.

You see, if you had any inkling about Lebanon or about the Middle East in general apart from it being one big blur in your eyes, you’d know that the political system in Lebanon allocates political power to Christians and Muslims equally. You’d have known that the president Marine Le Pen met has to be Maronite by law and that to be elected that persecuted Christian man held the entire country hostage for almost two years. But please, by all means, tell me more about how I’m persecuted.

I don’t feel unsafe in my country for being a Christian. I won’t get beheaded for going to Church. I won’t be shot down for reciting an “Our Father.” I won’t be knifed for crossing myself. Please, keep your disgusting concern to yourself and don’t reflect it on this country to try and pass on your agenda.

Are Christians persecuted in the Middle East? Sure, they are. But that persecution is happening in actual war zones, where everyone is getting killed regardless of how they pray. It’s sort of like the war zone in your minds where facts and common sense are getting massacred. Should we hold vigils for those? R.I.P. Logic. Waiting for their article about Marine Le Pen refusing to wear a veil to meet the mufti. That one should be exquisite.

Does Breitbart know what threatens Christians in the Middle East? It’s their constant advocacy – both Breitbart’s and those Christians – for far-right politics that only serve to fuel the hate in the poor minds of those who persecute those Christians in the first place. But I would assume that’s a lot of conjectures for them to wrap their heads around.

I daresay we can’t blame Breitbart for being this ignorant. It comes with the territory of being them. Even the comments on that Marine Le Pen article are horrendous, of which here’s a sample:

The more troubling part is that their sentiment is echoed by some Lebanese politicians and a lot of Lebanese-French (check the comments on these pictures 1234):

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The age of change and reform in Lebanon has begun with the election of General Michel Aoun, followed by Donald Trump. Will the triad be complete with the election of Marine Le Pen? God willing.

This is also not the first time that this level of misinformation and ignorance is spread about the situation of religious communities in Lebanon. During the American presidential campaign, Jeb Bush said: “if you’re a Christian in Lebanon, you’ll be beheaded.”

I suppose both Jeb and Breitbart would be disappointed to learn that I still have my head?

In Lebanon, everyone is screwed. The beauty of it is that it’s not the threat-to-their-lives kind and they are all screwed together, for better or for worse. Sorry to disappoint you Breitbart, but you’re barking up the wrong tree here.

Marine Le Pen Is Coming To Lebanon… Before She Forces French-Lebanese To Drop One Of Their Nationalities

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Rejoice, all of Lebanon’s right-wing! The head of the French “Front National” Marine Le Pen is coming over for a visit on February 19th and 20th, with scheduled meetings with President Aoun as well as Prime Minister Hariri, as reported by L’Orient Le Jour.

The purpose of the visit is to “show solidarity with Christians of the Middle East.” Because it’s common sense to do so in the best country for Christians in the Middle East, where the president is a “Michel,” not where, you know, Christians are actually dying because of war, but I digress.

Marine Le Pen’s visit comes around two weeks after Emmanuel Macron (bless him! <3) also visited the country. Both come in the same context of being more exposed to Middle Eastern politics in formulating more credible policies (that please their supporters, of course) before the French presidential elections become heated in the coming months with debates and first round votes.

It’s worth noting that Lebanon has one of the biggest French diasporas outside of Europe and French-Lebanese tend to vote for more right-wing parties (obviously) with Sarkozy getting around 68% of the vote here in 2012.

Marine Le Pen, on the other hand, is not Sarkozy. While many on L’Orient-Le Jour’s Facebook page are orgasmic with the upcoming visit and are pledging their support for her, exhibits being:

Marine Le Pen is a Islamophobic, French-supremacist demagogue, a friend of Donald Trump, Breitbart favorite for the elections, front-runner for the first round of the vote with a horrifying lead among Millennials. She wants to reduce immigration to the strict minimum (yes, French-Lebanese that affects your people too). She wants to increase police numbers and give them more power in France. Like other far-right politicians, her emblems are summarized with the notion of country first.

As part of her “French First” policies, Marine Le Pen wants to force dual French citizenship holders of non-European countries to choose between their two nationalities and relinquish the other, in case she is voted for president. Her comments, which were more specific to French Jews and later extrapolated to other groups (link), are worrying and horrifying.

So yes, dear French-Lebanese who are excited about her visit or who want to vote for her, you go ahead and do that. If she wins (she will not, but who knows how crazy 2017 wants to be), you will be forced to either stop not being French or Lebanese.

I sincerely hope you choose to forsake the latter citizenship because we truly need way less narrow-minded bigots here who are only concerned with what affects them personally, with complete and utter disregard to everyone else in the process. If you want to shoot yourself in the foot, make sure it’s your own foot and not everyone else’s with you as many Arab-Americans are now realizing, in hindsight, about their decision to vote for Trump.

And dear Marine Le Pen, I hope you enjoy your visit very much! Maybe it’ll show you that those-who-shall-not-be-named (Muslims) can coexist with the rightful heirs of the world (Christians) if, you know, you let them.

Lebanon at the Heart of a French Political Scandal

Gérald Dahan, a French imitator and comedian, faked being Louis Alliot, the #2 man of Le Pen’s right-wing Front National, and called UMP candidate to the legislative elections and former minister Nadine Morano, who’s of Italian origins.

Asking Morano about Le Pen, she replies that she thinks Le Pen has lots of talent and that there are many aspects of her policies upon which she agrees.

It’s worth noting that Morano was struggling in the polls of her corresponding district and was obviously in need to schmooze the many voters of the National Front.

Seconds later, a seemingly busy Morano hurries to end the conversation and does so by pitching a final idea which she believes should be enough to bring the fake-Alliot to her side. She declares her support for Marine Le Pen’s proposal not to let foreigners vote in France. Her argument?

J’ai pas envie que ça devienne le Liban chez moi.”

I don’t want it becoming Lebanon here.

Listen to the conversation:

Many French-Lebanese expressed outrage at the analogy she turned our country into. But I have to wonder, doesn’t she have a point?

I’m assuming she means the following: I don’t want France becoming a country where every other nation gets a say.

Isn’t that the case in Lebanon? Don’t we always nag about our decision not being in our hands?

I guess it’s different when some “outsider” tells it to our faces.

On the other hand, it’s not like things are much better in Morano’s native Italy.

The bottom line is: Lebanon is everywhere, in scandals and things that would make you proud to be Lebanese.

The French Presidential Elections – Round One: How Lebanon Voted

As expected, both Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande advanced to the second round of the French presidential elections to be held on May 6th.

According to official results, Sarkozy got 26.1% of the votes while Hollande got 29%. The current polls show the Socialist Hollande leading Sakozy 54% to 46% for the second round. The shock of the night, however, was a huge score by the woman of the French “Front National” Marine Le Pen who managed to break the two-party dichotomy of France by getting 18% of the votes, according to the latest results.

Her score will come as a headache for the socialists who are deciding to round cloud nine up until May 6th. If Le Pen endorses Sarkozy, all bets are off.

But political analysis aside, here’s how the situation was in Lebanon yesterday. 15000 French people are registered to vote in Lebanon, out of which 51.5% voted. On top of the French residing in Lebanon, 1600 French residing in Syria are eligible to vote in Lebanon due to the situation in their country. Out of those, only 28% cast their ballots.

As a reminder, in 2007 Nicolas Sarkozy got 51.5% in the first round in Lebanon. This time, however, he got 54.47%, beating Hollande who only got 19.81%.

On the other hand, Marine Le Pen got 9% among French-Lebanese voters, almost double what her father managed in 2007 in Lebanon but still less than the result she got in France.

All foreign territoires put together have Sarkozy ahead of Hollande at 38% to 28.31%. Marine Le Pen came in fourth with 5.34%. The total participation in Lebanon is above the average for French expats, which settled at 40%.

Altogether, here’s yet another elections where Lebanese voters who hold a second nationality go with a right wing candidate.