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Qaeda warns France of revenge for burka stance

Al-Qaeda's North Africa wing threatened today to take revenge on France after President Nicolas Sarkozy said the Islamic burka was not welcome, the US monitoring service SITE Intelligence reported. President Nicolas Sarkozy had said earlier this month that the burka, which covers the whole face, was not welcome in the strictly secular country.

world Updated: Jul 01, 2009 02:05 IST

Al-Qaeda's North Africa wing threatened on Tuesday to take revenge on France for its opposition to the burka, calling on Muslims to retaliate against the country, the US monitoring service SITE Intelligence reported.

President Nicolas Sarkozy had said earlier this month that the burka, which covers the whole face, was not welcome
in the strictly secular country.

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

"We will take revenge for the honour of our daughters and sisters against France and against its interests by every
means at our disposal."

"For us, the mujahedeen ... we will not remain silent to such provocations and injustices," Abdul Wadud said without
elaborating, according to SITE.

He said Muslims in France, who are estimated at around five million, are "increasingly concerned about the practices
of French politicians and leaders and their harassment".

On June 22, Sarkozy said the burka was not a symbol of religious faith but a sign of women's "subservience," adding
that the head-to-toe veil was "not welcome" in staunchly secular France.