France confirms headscarfban despite hostage threat

30th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 30 (AFP) - The French government said on Monday it planned to go ahead with the introduction this week of a ban on Islamic headscarves and other religious insignia in schools, despite an ultimatum from extremists holding two French journalists hostage in Iraq.

PARIS, Aug 30 (AFP) - The French government said on Monday it planned to go ahead with the introduction this week of a ban on Islamic headscarves and other religious insignia in schools, despite an ultimatum from extremists holding two French journalists hostage in Iraq.  

The Islamic Army in Iraq said late on Saturday it was giving France 48 hours to reverse the headscarf ban. Although the group did not specify what would happen if Paris failed to comply, it has already killed an Italian journalist after Rome ignored a similar ultimatum to pull its troops out of Iraq.  

"The law will come into effect," government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope told Canal Plus television.  

The ban on the wearing in schools of the Muslim headscarf and other conspicuous religious insignia such as Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses is due to come into effect on Thursday, when the new school year starts across the country.  

French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier arrived in Cairo early on Monday on the first leg of an urgent Middle East mission for contacts to seek the release of journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot.   

An Egyptian source said Barnier would meet General Omar Suleiman, head of Egypt's secret service, who has been following events in Iraq closely, and Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa, who has extensive contacts in the Arab world.

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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