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Macron’s party pulls support from hijab-wearing candidate

18th Jun 2021

Elham Asaad Buaras

President Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique en Marche party has withdrawn its endorsement of Muslim candidate Sara Zemmahi in Montpellier because she was pictured in an election poster with hijab.

Zemmahi an engineer was dragged into the latest argument about Muslim dress in France after her image was tweeted by Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party.

The tweet from Le Pen’s deputy, Jordan Bardella, brought the poster into the public eye. He said about the image, ‘That’s the fight against separatism’, a reference Macron’s effort to tackle Islamic extremists.

In a later tweet, Bardella said the hijab is ‘contrary to all our values’ and said his National Rally party ‘will forbid it in public’ in reference to a victory of Le Pen in next year’s presidential race.

In the poster, she is pictured in a white hijab as she stood with colleagues on posters and pamphlets, where she is standing in regional elections on June 20 and 27.While France bans the hijab in classrooms, they are not banned in the public. “We consider that ostentatious religious signs don’t have their place on posters, whatever the religion,” said Stanislas Guerini, leader of La Republique en Marche Party.

President Macron’s close ally Aurore Bergé, a leading En Marche MP for the Paris region, said, “When you are a candidate for election you represent all the French, not just a community or your religious opinions.”

Mahfoud Benali, the lead candidate on the list who is one of two men pictured on the poster with Zemmahi, said that he was “pained by the decision”. The poster shows Benali, another man and two female candidates, including Zemmahi, under the sign ‘different but united for you.’

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