French party leader on trial for anti-Muslim hate speech

French Front National party leader made comments at a rally in 2010, prompting anti-racism and human rights groups to bring case against her

French party leader on trial for anti-Muslim hate speech

World Bulletin / News Desk

Marine Le Pen, a leader of France's far-right Front National party, is due to appear in court Tueday charged with hate speech after comparing Muslims praying on the streets to Nazi occupation. 

Four anti-racism and human rights groups have brought a case against her on charges of "incitement to discrimination, violence or hatred towards a group of people on the basis of their religion."

Le Pen faces hate speech charges for the first time, even though her father and the party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen has been convicted on such charges several times, including the one contesting crimes against humanity after saying the Nazi occupation of France was not "particularly inhumane."

Le Pen made her comments in a speech during a party rally in Lyon in 2010. She referred to “street prayers” after there had been reports of Muslims praying in public in three French cities, including Paris, because of a lack of mosques or a lack of space in local prayer rooms.

She said, "I’m sorry, but for those who really like to talk about the second world war, if we’re talking about occupation, we can also talk about this while we're at it, because this is an occupation of territory," she told supporters, prompting waves of applause.

"It's an occupation of swaths of territory, of areas in which religious laws apply…for sure, there are no tanks, no soldiers, but it’s an occupation all the same and it weighs on people."

When the European parliament lifted Le Pen's parliamentary immunity in July 2013, a preliminary inquiry was opened.

The penalty for inciting racial hatred in France is up to a year in prison and a €45,000 fine.

Last Mod: 20 Ekim 2015, 13:22
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