France's far-right returns to roots with halal claims
By John Irish
LILLE, France (Reuters) - French far-right leader Marine Le Pen switched her presidential campaign back to immigration Sunday, saying all meat in Paris was halal, as she tries to head off President Nicolas Sarkozy's attempts to lure her supporters.
At a weekend congress of her National Front party in the northern city of Lille, Le Pen returned to familiar anti-immigration territory, saying she had proof that all meat in Paris was halal and that she would lodge legal complaints against distributors for misleading consumers.
"This situation is a real deception and the government has been fully aware of this situation for months," Le Pen told reporters on the sidelines of the conference. "All the abattoirs in the Paris region sell halal meat without exception."
The main meat industry association, Interbev, denied the allegation saying the vast majority of the meat in Paris is not slaughtered under halal or kosher practices.
"While some halal and kosher meat does find its way into other distribution channels that doesn't affect the quality of the product in any way," the association's president Dominique Langlois told France Info radio.
Le Pen is third in opinion polls behind Socialist candidate Francois Hollande and Sarkozy. The first round of the presidential election is on April 22.