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Religion emerges in secular French politics as presidential campaign heats up
by Tom Heneghan
Two of the most interesting photo ops of France's current presidential election campaign took place last month 2,000 miles away in Lebanon — and they were all about religious optics.
In one, the far-right leader Marine Le Pen called off a scheduled meeting with Grand Mufti Abdellatif Deriane just outside his Beirut office when the Muslim cleric's staff insisted she don a headscarf before going in for the meeting.
With the video cameras rolling, she emphatically refused.
Later that day, with the same media entourage in tow, she smiled and exchanged pleasantries with Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai, leader of Lebanon's Maronite Christians and a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.
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