Marine Le Pen, the National Front candidate for president of the French Republic, is not expected to win the upcoming election. Of course, considering recent history with Donald Trump, one should be careful about pronouncing what can or cannot ever happen in politics. In any case, Le Pen was recently in Lebanon, a former French colony, burnishing her foreign policy street cred. She was invited to meet with that country’s Grand Mufti when she was informed she would be required to wear a head scarf.

Her reaction was, along the lines, of thanks but no thanks, according to Hot Air.

To understand why Le Pen made this gesture, the gentle reader has to know how different the French (and most other Europeans) view national identity than Americans. Americans have a relatively lax attitude toward what it takes to be a citizen. An immigrant in encouraged to speak English and believe in the Constitution. Immigrants are also invited to assimilate to a certain extent to the prevailing culture, but also add his or her own to the mix, hence the concept of the melting pot.

French national identity is a bit different. One is not only expected to speak French and adhere to French culture but to do so to such a degree that is unheard of in America. That fact is one reason why many French people find the appearance of a great many unassimilated Muslims in their midst to be disturbing. The terrorist outrages that took place in Paris and Nice in the past year or so added the hard edge of fear to the mix.

By refusing to cover up, Le Pen asserted her identity as a Frenchwoman in the face of a foreign demand that many of her followers find uncivilized, part of a shame culture that they find repugnant. Americans are taught to respect other cultures and so an American female politician would have put on the headscarf without a second thought, at least out of fear of being called racist or islamophobic.

Le Pen, on the other hand, will likely pad her poll numbers with the gesture that would have been considered impolite on the other side of the Atlantic.

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