LYON - Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front, went on trial Tuesday on charges of inciting hatred after comparing Muslim street prayers to the Nazi occupation.

The 47-year-old, who has won a string of election successes after working to soften the image of her party, appeared in a court in the central city of Lyon over the comments she made while campaigning to take over the leadership of the party from her father five years ago.

"I have committed no crime," said a smiling Le Pen as she entered the court. If convicted, she faces up to a year in prison or a fine of up to 45,000 euros ($51,000).

While on the campaign trail in December 2010, Le Pen complained about places in France where Muslims worshipped in the streets outside mosques when they were full. "I'm sorry, but for those who like talking a lot about World War II, if it comes to talking about the occupation, we can talk about it, because that (Muslims praying on the street) is the occupation of territory," she told a crowd in the southeastern city of Lyon.

"It is an occupation of part of the territory, suburbs where religious law is applied. Sure, there are no armoured vehicles, no soldiers, but it is an occupation nonetheless and it weighs on residents."