by Natalie Buchbinder
France’s war on religion continued last month, as far-right French politician and leader of the Front National Party Marine Le Pen announced her support for a ban on religious headwear in public.
The ban, which Le Pen claims would not restrict the Jewish people but rather would level the playing field in relation to a ban on Muslim hijabs, is the latest in a series of attacks on Jewish identity in France.
“Jewish skullcaps are obviously not a problem in our country,” Le Pen told French television outlets, but added that France has to ban the Jewish head coverings “in the name of equality.”
The daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the openly anti-Semitic founder and former leader of Front National, the younger Le Pen is no stranger to controversy. During her failed campaign for the French presidency earlier this year, Le Pen’s extreme right-wing platform included anti-Islam and immigrant sentiment. According to an April Associated Press article, Le Pen sought to eradicate the Islamic culture she believed was enlisting young French boys to “train for Jihad.”
Le Pen’s comments were quickly shut down by French President Francois Hollande. Hollande has faced pressure in recent weeks after a string of anti-Semitic violence has plagued the country this year. In March, a gunman with alleged ties to Al-Qaeda shot and killed three children and a rabbi in Toulouse. The violence continued into September, as four were injured in the bombing of a kosher grocery store in a Paris suburb.