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Muslim leaders blast Frenchmen's kidnap

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    Muslim leaders blast Frenchmen s kidnap By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank Tuesday 31 August 2004, 16:28 Makka Time, 13:28 GMT
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2004
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      Muslim leaders blast Frenchmen's kidnap
      By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

      Tuesday 31 August 2004, 16:28 Makka Time, 13:28 GMT
      http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D78DAD65-F076-4DAF-A46D-F062131337AF.htm


      The abduction in Iraq earlier this week of two French journalists has
      outraged Arab and Muslim intellectuals, journalists and religious
      leaders as well as many ordinary citizens.

      Many Muslim intellectuals are worried that the incident will harm the
      interests of France's five million Muslims and fuel Islamophobia,
      already rampant in many sections of Western society.

      In the event of their execution, the damage will be far more severe,
      they caution.

      Small wonder, then, a number of prominent religious leaders in the Arab
      world are pulling out all the stops to get the two journalists freed.

      Shaikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the Muslim world's most respected
      scholars and theologians, has appealed to the captors to release the
      journalists immediately, saying that hostage-taking is "incompatible
      with Islam".

      "This act is unacceptable and inadmissible in light of the Sharia.
      Hence, I appeal and urge those who kidnapped the two French journalists
      to free them immediately and refrain from harming them in anyway,"
      Qaradawi said on Aljazeera television on Monday.

      'Incompatible'

      Qaradawi echoed the feelings of the Arab world when he noted that France
      had rejected the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq, and
      refused to send troops to the occupied Arab country.

      In another significant development, the chief of the officially banned
      but influential Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Akef, appealed to the
      captors to set the French journalists free, arguing that kidnapping is
      incompatible with the teachings of Islam.

      In the occupied Palestinian territories, the Islamic Resistance
      Movement, Hamas, has also called on the captors to set free Malbrunot
      and Chesnot.

      The group's spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Aljazeera television
      that Hamas deplores the abduction of innocent people, especially the
      French journalists.

      "We believe such acts are utterly incompatible with the sublime
      teachings of Islam and can only harm the traditionally good and friendly
      relations between France and the Arab world"

      "We urge the kidnappers to free the hostages unharmed immediately," he said.

      Likewise, the Palestinian Journalists' Union issued a leaflet on Tuesday
      demanding the immediate release of the two Frenchmen.

      "We believe such acts are utterly incompatible with the sublime
      teachings of Islam and can only harm the traditionally good and friendly
      relations between France and the Arab world," the statement said.

      However, the statement held the United States and its occupation army
      "responsible for fostering an atmosphere of anarchy and chaos in Iraq"
      which makes "these repugnant acts inevitable".

      Indeed, the statement highlighted the deaths of Arab journalists in
      recent months at the hands of US troops, in particular Aljazeera's Tareq
      Ayyoub and Reuters cameraman Mazen Daana, both Palestinians.

      Shia response

      Predictably, the abduction of Chesnot and Malbrunot has been denounced
      by some prominent Shia Muslim figures, notably the Lebanese scholar
      Shaikh Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah, Hizb Allah leader Sheikh Hasan Nasr
      Allah and Muqtada al Sadr, the Iraqi Shia Muslim leader who recently led
      an uprising against the US-backed interim Iraqi Government.

      In a statement to the press, Fadl Allah described the hostage-taking as
      a criminal and irresponsible act that could only besmirch the image of
      Islam and give further ammunition to those who seek to promote the
      morbid concept of "clash of civilisations".

      For its part, the Arab League has called the kidnapping "an act of
      terror". Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa has urged "everyone to
      resolve this matter as soon as possible to avoid any unwanted consequences".

      On Sunday French President Jacques Chirac delivered a televised address
      demanding the release of the two journalists. Chirac said everything has
      been done and would be done to ensure the two men's safety and release.

      Currently, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier is in the Middle East holding
      a series of meetings with Arab leaders in an effort to secure the
      release of the two French journalists.
      Aljazeera
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