Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


French far right leader on trial over Muslim prayer comments

20 October 2015, 15:05

Paris - French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is standing trial over comments she made five years ago comparing Muslim street prayers to a foreign occupation.

Le Pen, whose National Front party is known for its anti-immigration and anti-Islam views, arrived Tuesday in court to be judged on charges of inciting racial hatred in Lyon, where she'll face four anti-racism and human rights organizations.

"I have the right, as a political leader, to evoke a crucial issue and it's even a duty for me to do it", Marine Le Pen told reporters. She described herself as a victim of "judicial persecution".

Her popularity on the rise in France, Le Pen faces up to a year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros ($51,000). The court's ruling is expected to be set to a later date.

Despite the potential jail term, political experts say she could emerge from the trial even stronger among many National Front voters.

Le Pen's litigious comments referred to Muslims praying on the street outside mosques when they are full.

Also read: Muslim group declares war against ISIS, Boko Haram

"That actually is the occupation of territory," she told a crowd of sympathizers in Lyon in 2010.

In France, "occupation" is the generic term used to refer to the period of administration by the Nazis of French territory.

In July 2013, Le Pen was stripped of her European Parliament immunity over the comments.

Marine Le Pen scores high in all popularity polls before regional elections in December. She's hoping to win votes in the context of Europe's migrant crisis, what she calls a "migratory submersion."

"I think that acting as a victim as she does is going to be more useful than bad (to her image)," historian Jean Garrigues told The Associated Press. "We can see that this theme of an invasion that could be related to an occupation, it works. It does have a political efficiency."

Political analyst Thomas Guenole said Le Pen's trial wouldn't be problematic to the majority of National Front voters who share far right or very conservative views.

But Le Pen has been trying in recent years to increase her electorate with people from the left, based on the argument of an opposition to Europe's economic policy.

"To them, her comments are a big problem ... because they are resolutely antiracist and hostile to any kind of hatred speech," Guenole said.

Le Pen has tried to soften the party's image since she took over from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in 2011.

She kicked her father out of the party he founded this summer, after he repeated his view that the Nazi gas chambers were merely a "detail" of history.

- AP


Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...