A video of a politician from the National Rally (formerly the National Front) demanding that a Muslim woman take off her veil was met with outrage as it went viral over the weekend.
Julien Odoul, leader of the National Rally (RN) regional assembly, asked the head of the council to demand a woman attending the meeting “remove her Islamic veil” in “the name of the principles of laïcité” – the strict secularism that some see as central to French national identity.
The woman was attending the meeting with a group of local schoolchildren – including her son who, in response to Odoul’s words, started to cry.
The council’s president, Socialist Marie-Guite Dufay, told Odoul that neither French national law nor the regional council’s rules stop people from wearing the veil during such meetings. RN politicians then left the room – before releasing a statement describing the woman’s wearing of the veil as an “Islamist provocation”.
Later the same day, Dufay took to Twitter to lambast Odoul’s demand as “unworthy of an elected official of the French Republic”.