Saturday, August 28, 2004

Two Frenchmen Kidnapped in Iraq

The Iraqi "freedom fighters" (or is that "Minutemen"?) just can't be bothered to differentiate between friends and foes, it would seem. Flippancy aside, it's interesting that the kidnappers aren't using their deed to press for changes in Iraq, but to have an effect of French domestic policy - in particular, to get the French ban on headscarves in schools reversed.

Islamistische Extremisten haben laut al-Dschasira im Irak zwei französische Journalisten entführt. Sie verlangen, dass die Regierung in Paris binnen 48 Stunden das Kopftuchverbots-Gesetz zurückzieht.
Translation:
According to al-Jazeera, Islamic extremists have kidnapped two French journalists. They demand that the government in Paris reverse the law banning headscarves within the next 48 hours.
Barring a heroic rescue attempt, I'd say that these two Frenchmen are certain to die soon, as there's no way that a French government of any hue would ever capitulate to such a demand. One of the funny things about the French is that for all their posturing over the last 2 years where Iraq's concerned, few Western countries have been as ruthless in dealing with Islamic extremists, a point Algeria's FIS well understands.

Speaking personally, I continue to think the ban on headscarves was ill-advised, but the last thing I'd endorse would be a revocation that came about only under the pressure of terrorist action, and I suspect that there are many others who feel the same way as I do. If this action was meant to get the French to rethink the wisdom of banning such expressions of Islamic piety, it looks certain to backfire spectacularly.