Is one of Marine Le Pen’s flagship initiatives still like that? The veil is a “complex problem” now explains the president of RN. This proposal has evolved over the last ten years within the far right.
The central theme of Marine Le Pen’s celebration. Banning (or at least limiting) veils in French society is a clearly stated goal and has been for years. But over the course of a week, in the midst of the presidential election, the candidate for the National Rally has changed his mind. After defending a very clear ban on the veil in public space, she now sees it as one “complex problem” which requires gradual action and turns out to be less firm than a few weeks ago. This is actually the latest speech adjustment from the far right candidate, in a decade where she has already changed her mind on this topic several times.
Between-two rounds: “A complex problem”
What is presented as a better pedagogy, therefore, consisted in the candidate explaining on 16 April in the campaign in Saint-Rémy-sur-Avre (Eure-et-Loir) that the veil was a “complex problem”, and that she was not “blunt” in framing her gate. The day before, during a trip to Pertuis (Vaucluse), the RN candidate had confronted a woman dressed in a headscarf and explained to her that her veil is “a sign of being a grandmother” and that she existed “a modern veil and a modern outfit”.
For Louis Aliot, RN’s mayor of Perpignan, this is not a change on the part of Marine Le Pen. “I think we explain better”he assessed, invited this Monday from France Inter and specified that this ban would be introduced in a way “progressive”. Continuation of the text explanation: “There will be a proactive policy (…) which starts with banning it in public services and which will consequently limit its visibility on the streets.”
Guest in Europe 1 Sunday, the President of the RN, Jordan Bardella, for his part, presented the global ban as a “targeted target”. He also made an unusual distinction between “the veil for French women who arrived from immigration in the 60s and 70s” and “the veil has now become a pre-instrument for Islamic fundamentalists”. A distinction was also made this Sunday on BFM TV by the candidate’s spokesman, Sébastien Chenu, who makes sure to clarify that “The goal is the Islamists”but not “the 70-year-old grandmother who has been wearing her little veil for years” greeted by Marine Le Pen.
Before the first round: “An Islamist uniform”
A few days earlier, the message and tone were very different. At France Inter, on April 12, Marine Le Pen assured it “the veil is an Islamist uniform and not a Muslim uniform” and that she looked at him “the uniform of an ideology and not of a religion”. She thus compared, with much less tweezers than her spokesman on Monday, this potential ban on the obligation to wear a seat belt in the car or the use of a mask on the street, suggesting that all French people will have to respect it because “It’s the rule of the game in a democracy”.
This general fight against Islamism is also at the heart of his presidential project for 2022, but without the word “veil” not used: “Introduce specific legislation aimed only at Islamist ideologies, which are the real totalitarian threat of modern times”, we can especially read in his manifesto for France. A bill “already ready” proposes to ban “in public space, signs or clothing which in themselves constitute an unambiguous and ostentatious confirmation of ideologies” Islamists, but does not refer to a gradual establishment, which is primarily aimed at public services.
April 7: “If we wear the veil, we get a ticket”
Invited by our colleagues from RTL on April 7, the RN candidate clearly showed his intention: “If we wear the veil, we’ll get a ticket”she promised and assured it “the French ask” this measure, which she assesses “fully usable”.
“We are not fighting against people, we are fighting against processes, against a totalitarian ideology called Islamism”continued the candidate for the National Rally. “Therefore, the veil will be banned tomorrow. Therefore, if you wear the veil, you will not be stopped on the street, you get a ticket.”
February 22: “An Element of Women’s Submission”
Asked about the topic on the occasion of a special day “Candidates and young people” organized by France Inter, on February 22, the candidate said to himself “absolutely against wearing veils everywhere: at university, on the street, in sports, absolutely everywhere”and spoke of the veil as one “female submissive element”.
July 2021: “Ban the veil”
“We are only working to ban the veil to make it legally possible”, trusted the candidate in July 2021 during the RN Congress in Perpignan. A few months earlier, in January, Marine Le Pen had already sharpened his tone by presenting his counter-draft bill on separatism to oppose the text the government wanted. Article 1 promised to “ban” it “practice, manifestation and public dissemination”in the cinema, in the press, in school, “Islamist ideologies”. This text was signed by MEP, former member of LR, Jean-Paul Garraud, who could take over the reins of the Ministry of Justice if Marine Le Pen is elected.
2017: a measure already in place in the program
The ban on wearing the veil was already in Marine Le Pen’s program in 2017. She wanted to apply the law currently restricted in schools from kindergarten to terminal throughout society: no veil, no yarmulke or turban on her head in public space . “The veil is a female submission”had dropped the candidate during a debate in 2017.
2012: ban only in public services, that is
In 2012, Marine Le Pen initially did not go that far. Its program advocated the ban on “wearing veils or any other ostentatious religious sign” in “public administrative services dependent on the state or local authorities”. It was not yet a matter of banning it on the street. A proposal that would emerge a few months later, during the summer school in La Baule in September 2012.
It was there, in an interview with Le Monde, that she for the first time declared her desire to ban the veil, but also the yarmulken in “shops, transport, street”. When everyday reminds him that this is one “liberticidal measure”Marine Le Pen replies that it all “depends on what you consider to be freedom.