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article imageAl Qaeda Group Threatens France Over Burqa Ban

By Christopher Szabo     Jul 2, 2009 in World
A North African Al Qaeda splinter group has threatened revenge against France for its decision to ban the female covering called the “burqa.” Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed France was practicing “religious terrorism” and spreading hatred.
According to media reports, the group, whose name “Maghreb” is also the Arabic name for much of North Africa, rejected the official French claim that the burqa (or niqab) was a symbol of the subjugation of women. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said in a statement that appeared on pro-Al Qaeda websites:
Here is France mustering all her capacity, mobilising all her institutions and organising her ranks to wage a perfidious new war against our sisters who wear the niqab
The statement also expressed outrage at western behaviour found on the beaches of tourist resorts in Algeria and Tunisia:
Their denuded women flock to our land and occupy our beaches and streets, outrageously defying the feelings of Muslims.
The group further claimed the French government’s action was tantamount to “religious terrorism:”
This is why we call upon all Muslims to respond to this hatred by another that is more ravaging, we call upon them to confront this French obstinacy.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb swore in the statement:
Before God not to be silent in the face of these provocations and injustices and do all in our power and take revenge at the first opportunity against France and its interests wherever they may be found, for the honour of our daughters and our sisters.
AQIM is the remnant of an Islamic group whose parliamentary wing won an election in the 1990s which was not recognised by western countries and which then went underground. The insurgency that followed was fought throughout the 1990s and some recent terrorist incidents have been linked to it.
AQIM was previously known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, itself a spinoff of the Armed Islamic Group.
France and the North African countries have a long history with the first French conquest of Algiers in 1830 and French colonial sway only ending in 1965 after a bloody war.
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