Holy Warriors Demand End to French Hijab Ban

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The mujahideen in Iraq have kidnapped two French journalists, and are demanding that France revoke their ban on Muslim headscarves (hijab) in school, within 48 hours: End Headscarf Ban, Iraq Hostage Takers Warn France.

DUBAI (Reuters) - An Iraqi militant group has kidnapped two French journalists and given the French government 48 hours to end its ban on Muslim headscarves in school, Arabic television station Al Jazeera said Saturday.

Jazeera identified the hostages as reporters George Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot. Last week, the French Foreign Ministry said the two men had gone missing in Iraq.

The channel aired a brief video showing what it said were the two journalists standing in front of a black banner bearing the name of the Islamic Army in Iraq. One man told the camera: “I would like to tell my family that everything is OK.”

The journalists — who work for Le Figaro and Radio France International — were declared missing on the same day that Italy said freelance journalist Enzo Baldoni was also missing and that his driver had been reportedly killed.

Jean-Louis Validire, editor-in-chief of Le Figaro’s foreign service, said Malbrunot and Chesnot were last spotted in Baghdad on Aug. 20 and were probably preparing to go to the Iraqi city of Najaf where U.S. troops battled followers of rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Baldoni was ambushed along the Baghdad-Najaf road and taken hostage by the Islamic Army in Iraq. Thursday, Jazeera said the group killed him because Italy refused to heed a deadline to withdraw troops from Iraq.

The Jazeera announcer said the Islamic Army in Iraq issued an ultimatum to France to abandon its “unfair and aggressive” policy of banning Muslim headscarves in state schools within 48 hours. It did not say whether the group threatened to kill its captives if France did not comply.

RFI vice president Alain Menargues told LCI television that on seeing the tape it was a great relief to see the two reporters alive, but knowing what their situation was made the future very difficult to bear.

“I’m thinking of my Italian colleague, I’m thinking of these two Frenchmen and I say to myself maybe there is still hope. So let’s hang on to that hope,” he said.

A French Foreign Ministry spokesman in Paris said: “We have nothing to say. We are trying to analyze the information we have learned the same way you did.”

Please note: the promotion of hijab and other forms of restrictive dress for women is a very important strategy of radical Islam. This story makes it clear how important. They will kill for it.

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