MAGHREB al-Qaeda threatened, on Tuesday 06/30/2009, to take revenge on France for its opposition to the burka, calling on Muslims to retaliate against the country, the U.S. monitoring service SITE Intelligence reported.

President Nicolas Sarkozy had said, on 06/22/2009, that the burka, which covers the whole face, was not welcome in the strictly secular country. He added that burka wasn’t a symbol of religious faith but a sign of women’s “subservience”. The French National Assembly set up an inquiry into the rising number of Muslim women who wear the burka. Muslims in France are estimated at around 5 million and about 10% of the general French population.

“Yesterday was the hijab (the Islamic headscarf long banned in French schools) and today, it is the niqab (the full veil),” the leader of MAGHREB al-Qaeda Abu Musab Abdul-Wadud was quoted as saying.

“We will take revenge for the honor of our daughters and sisters against France and against its interests by every means at our disposal”. The group also called on Muslims to retaliate for what it called French ” hostility” against the community and its attempt to obstruct Islam’s practice on its territory.

“We call upon all Muslims to confront this hostility with greater hostility, and to counter France’s efforts to divide male and female believers from their faith with a greater effort … (by) adherence to the teachings of their Islamic shariaa”.

The majority of Muslim clerics around the world don’t regard wearing the burka, unlike the head cover, as a religious obligation under Islam.

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