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From London, Macron lays red carpet for banks, academics, and researchers

From London, Macron lays red carpet for banks, academics, and researchers

It detailed how the mufti's aides tried to give her the headscarf and that Le Pen refused to take it.

Ms Le Pen also referenced a 2015 trip to Egypt where she didn't wear a headscarf to meet the Grand Imam of al-Azhar. On Monday, Ms Le Pen told Mr Hariri that in her opinion the only realistic alternative to Mr Assad was a Syria ruled by Islamic State.

"This is the protocol" at the mufti's office, the statement said.

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has refused to wear a headscarf for a meeting with the grand mufti of Lebanon.

The National Front leader's most likely presidential rivals are the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron or former Prime Minister Francois Fillon with both now expected to defeat Le Pen in May's final round of voting.

The Grand Mufti's press office said that Le Pen had been informed beforehand of their requirement, Reuters reports. The money is now being deducted per month from LePen's MEP salary at a rate of €3,000 and all her expenses have been frozen.

Le Pen compared her refusal to wear the headscarf to the decision by former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama to decline wearing one during her state visit to Saudi Arabia.

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The European Parliament has ordered Le Pen to repay the money, estimating the improper payments at 336,146 euros ($355,000).

In a statement on Tuesday, officials said the misunderstanding was regrettable but suggested Le Pen was being "improper" in not agreeing. "The Edict House regrets such inappropriate behavior at such meetings".

She was also holding meetings with Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil and Christian Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai and Christian Lebanese politician Samir Geagea.

Le Pen is not the first presidential candidate to travel to Lebanon.

"For me, it's not unity for its own sake that I see, I've been saying I want the unity of the left and of progressive forces in which I include Emmanuel Macron", Mr de Rugy said on France Info radio. A recent poll showed the National Front president, who is ahead of all rivals in the election's first round, halving the gap between her and Macron for the second round in the past month.

Ms Le Pen and father Jean-Marie Le Pen.

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