>> French presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen on the campaign trail overseas, but insisting she plays by her own rules. The far right national front leader cancelling a meeting with Lebanon's Grand Mufti on Tuesday. After refusing to wear a headscarf for the meeting.>>
> The highest city authority in the world did not oblige me to do that.
There's no reason for it, but it's not a big deal. You can pass on my respects to the Mufti, but I will not cover myself up.>> Among the frontrunners for the French presidency, Le Pen is in Lebanon to bolster her foreign policy credentials. The cleric's press office said, her aides had been told that a head scarf was required for the meeting.
And had been surprised by her refusal, but it was no surprise in the French political context. Law there bans head scarves in the public service. And the high school pupils, in the name of church state separation and equal rights for women. La Pen wants to extend that ban to all public places, a measure that would affect Muslims most of all.
The leader has gained support at home by voters disillusioned by immigration and economic policy. Despite her popularity in France, opinion polls say she is likely to get the highest score in the first round of voting in April. But then lose to a mainstream candidate. And the decisive second round vote in May.