Le Pen will stand in court on October 20 on charges of “incitement to discrimination over people’s religious beliefs”, the prosecutor’s office in Lyon said in a statement on Tuesday.
She said: “I’m sorry, but some people are very fond of talking about the Second World War and about the occupation, so let’s talk about occupation, because that is what is happening here…” She complained that there were “10 to 15” places in France where Muslims worshipped on the streets when the mosques were full. Sure, there are no armoured vehicles, no soldiers, but it is an occupation nonetheless and it weighs on residents’.
Le Pen made the comments while campaigning to win party leadership from her father. A group of associations later filed a complaint, leading to the case being reopened in January 2012.
“If they really wanted to deal with Marine Le Pen it would have been much wiser for the mainstream political parties to just concentrate on themselves and on what they say”.
“She reacted indignantly on Tuesday to news of the trial”.
Le Pen also expressed her anger on Twitter. “Those who denounce the illegal behaviour of fundamentalists are more likely to be sued than the fundamentalists who behave illegally”.
Philippot accused the French authorities of trying to smear Le Pen before regional elections to be held in December.
The National Front is riding high in opinion polls, thanks partly to the economic disasters of the Socialist government, and the often ineffective opposition of the right-wing Republican Party.
Le Pen’s father, National Front founder and former leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, was also recently prosecuted under the same set of laws for Holocaust denial after he called Nazi gas chambers a minor “detail” of World War II.
Le Pen has leaned on traditional party arguments, calling for an end to Europe’s borderless Schengen zone as well as actions seen as enticing migrants to France.