SHAFAQNA -Â Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-rightÂ National Front (FN), has been ordered to stand trial in October on charges ofÂ inciting racial hatred after comparing Muslim street prayers to the NaziÂ occupation, legal sources have said.
Le Pen told the AFP news agency on Tuesday that she would attend the trial.Â “Yes, of course. I wouldn’t miss such an occasion,” she said.
She was charged in July 2014, after her immunity as a member of theÂ European Parliament was lifted following a vote over her controversial statements.
Le Pen was campaigning to take over leadership of the FN from her father inÂ December 2010 when she made the comparison, complaining that there were “ten toÂ 15” places in France where Muslims worshipped in the streets outsideÂ mosques when those were full.
“I am sorry, but for those who like talking a lot about World War II, if itÂ comes to talking about the ‘occupation’, we can talk about it, because that [Muslims praying on the street] is the occupation of territory,” she told a crowd in the eastern city of Lyon.
‘Occupation of territory’
“It is an occupation of part of the territory, suburbs where religious lawÂ is applied. Sure, there are no armoured vehicles, no soldiers, but it is anÂ occupation nonetheless, and it weighs on residents.”
After the comments, which provoked outrage in France, Le Pen, leader of the third-largest party in the country, wasÂ investigated for inciting racial hatred, but the probe was later closed with noÂ result.
But a complaint by an association led to a judicial inquiry, which wasÂ opened in January 2012, leading to the charges.
Islam is the second-largest religion in France, with up to 10 percent of the population following the faith.