French Muslims in Baghdad trip for hostages

1st September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 1 (AFP) - A delegation of French Muslims was set to travel to Baghdad on Wednesday to help secure the release of two journalists held captive by Islamic militants in Iraq, a spokesman for the Paris mosque announced.

PARIS, Sept 1 (AFP) - A delegation of French Muslims was set to travel to Baghdad on Wednesday to help secure the release of two journalists held captive by Islamic militants in Iraq, a spokesman for the Paris mosque announced.  

The delegation from the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM) - the country's officially recognized Muslim body - was to head for the Iraqi capital late in the day, said the spokesman, Slimane Nadour.  

The French foreign ministry said it had given its "agreement in principle" for the trip but could not confirm when the delegation would be leaving Paris.  

Tensions were high in France as the country waited for news of the two journalists, Radio France correspondent Christian Chesnot and Le Figaro reporter Georges Malbrunot, one day after the kidnappers' ultimatum expired.  

The militants are demanding that Paris rescind a ban on the Islamic headscarf and other "conspicuous" religious insignia in state schools, a law due to come into force Thursday at the start of the academic year.  

French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier was in Qatar on the latest leg of a Middle East mission to save the lives of the two newsmen, who went missing in Iraq on August 20.  

The hostage-taking has prompted a unanimous outcry in France, including a strong condemnation from the country's five-million-strong Muslim community - even from those radicals who staunchly opposed the headscarf ban in schools.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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