RSF calls on reporters’ abductors to heed Muslimcalls for their release

30th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

DUBAI, Aug 30 (AFP) - Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called Monday on the abductors of two French journalists in Iraq to heed widespread appeals for their release from Muslim groups around the world.

DUBAI, Aug 30 (AFP) - Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called Monday on the abductors of two French journalists in Iraq to heed widespread appeals for their release from Muslim groups around the world.  

The Islamic Army in Iraq late Saturday gave the French government 48 hours to reverse its ban on Muslim headscarves in state schools.  

Though it 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.  

"Reporters Without Borders appealed to the kidnappers to listen to the appeals from a range of Muslims and their organisations," said a RSF statement obtained by AFP here.  

The watchdog "stresses that the two journalists knew the Arab world well, were very respectful of Islam and had never reported in a sensational manner."  

The group also "asked the Arab media to relay" appeals for the two hostages' release made by Iraq's Committee of Muslim Ulemas, France's Muslim Council and Union of Islamic Organisations, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  

"Many Muslims and Islamic institutions called today for the release of two French journalists threatened with execution by kidnappers in Iraq. Reporters Without Borders appealed to Arab media to give the widest publicity to these calls."  

Muslim leaders in France and abroad joined the government in urging the Islamic Army in Iraq, the same shadowy Sunni Muslim group that kidnapped and later killed Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, to free the two men.  

The group's demand that Paris revoke its ban on headscarves in state schools and universities upped the stakes in the debate over the controversial law, set to go into effect Thursday when classes resume in France.  

French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier arrived in Cairo early Monday on the first leg of an urgent Middle East mission for contacts over two French journalists taken hostage in Iraq.

 

© AFP

Subject: French news

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