President Macron has defended the existing ban on headscarves in schools while election opponent Marine Le Pen seeks to outlaw coverings outright.
Muslim headscarves took centre stage in France’s presidential campaign amid far-right candidate Marine Le Pen’s push to entirely ban them in the country with western Europe’s largest Muslim population.
Both Le Pen and rival Emmanuel Macron, facing a tightly contested April 24 runoff vote, were confronted by women in headscarves on Friday who asked why their clothing choices should be caught up in politics.
Macron said he would not ban religious clothing, but he has overseen the closure of several mosques and Islamic groups. And many Muslims in France feel the presidential campaign has unfairly stigmatised their faith.
At a farmers’ market in the southern town of Pertuis, a woman in a blue-and-white head covering approached Le Pen as the candidate weaved past fishmongers and vendors to greet supporters.