Candidate stands by her beliefs
MARINE Le Pen is showing no sign of moderating her rhetoric as she claimed France was under the threat of two "totalitarianisms" - economic globalisation and Islamic fundamentalism.
In a speech to launch her campaign for the presidential race, the leader of the far-right Front National said mosques, "prayers in the streets" and the veil worn by Muslim women were threats to France's culture and values and that "no French person, no Republican and no women attached to their dignity could accept it".
"We do not want to live under the yoke of the threat of Islamic fundamentalism," she said at her party's conference in Lyon.
Ms Le Pen claimed "mass immigration" caused by globalisation left French people feeling "dispossessed" of their own country and allowed Islamic fundamentalism, an ideological "enemy of France" to settle on its territory.
"Islamic fundamentalism is attacking us at home," she said.
A day before Ms Le Pen's speech, France's independent candidate Emmanuel Macron publicly criticised the FN and its leader, saying she "betrays" France's historical values.
Mr Macron, who quit the Socialist government to create his own political movement "En Marche!", recently surged in the polls after right-wing candidate François Fillon became embroiled in a scandal over payments to his wife for work she had allegedly never done.
Current polls suggest Mr Macron will win the presidential race in a head-to-head with Ms Le Pen in the second round.