Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder and former leader of the farright- wing French party National Front (FN), on Wednesday came to the defense of his daughter and current leader of the party, Marine Le Pen, who called for the prohibition in public of Muslim veils and Jewish kippot.

In an interview with AFP, Jean Marie Le Pen said his daughter initially had spoken to the daily Le Monde about the veils, and that the matter of skullcaps was raised only by her interviewer.

“She didn’t put the two subjects on the same ground,” he said. “She [just] demanded that Jews wearing a kippa make a patriotic gesture not to wear it in order to more easily enable a prohibition against the veil.”

The elder Le Pen explained that he saw veils and burkas as a type of warning about a trend.

“When people see in the street two burkas, then four burkas, eight, 16, they tell themselves that something is happening,” he said.

Le Pen, 84, has been honorary president of the FN since Marine became leader in 2011. He is also a European deputy and wishes to run again for the Euro Parliament in 2014.

His interview with AFP marked 40 years since the FN’s founding on October 5, 1972. It eventually became one of the most powerful political forces in France, challenging then-president Jacques Chirac in 2002 and earlier this year gaining close to 18 percent of the presidential vote in which president Nicolas Sarkozy lost to socialist challenger Francois Hollande.

Le Pen added that Sarkozy’s center-right UMP party lost because it had always refused to form an alliance with the FN. In an interview earlier this week with the extreme right-wing newspaper Minute, he accused the B’nai B’rith of having “imposed” this stance on the UMP.

When questioned about this during his interview with the AFP, he said he himself had not witnessed this firsthand.

“But it was said 10 times, 100 times,” he explained. “It is not a scoop. It is a plausible explanation. It was not denied.”

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