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‘What is the headscarf doing in politics?’ Muslim headscarves become issue in French presidential campaign

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PERTUIS, France (AP) — Muslim headscarves took center stage in France’s presidential campaign Friday amid far-right candidate Marine Le Pen’s push to ban them in the country with western Europe’s largest Muslim population.

Both she and rival Emmanuel Macron, facing a tightly contested April 24 runoff, were confronted by women in headscarves who asked why their clothing choices should be caught up in politics. Macron wouldn’t ban religious clothing, but he has overseen the closure of several mosques and Islamic groups. And many Muslims feel the presidential campaign has unfairly stigmatized their faith.

At a farmers’ market in the southern town of Pertuis, a woman in a blue-and-white head covering approached Le Pen as the candidate weaved past fishmongers and vendors to greet supporters.

“What is the headscarf doing in politics?” the woman asked.

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