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Abductors slam 'oppressor' France

From Senior Editor for Arab Affairs Octavia Nasr

Chesnot, left, and Malbrunot went missing on August 20.
Should the French government revoke a law banning Muslim headscarves in public schools in an attempt to secure the release of hostages in Iraq?

(CNN) -- The group holding the two French journalists hostage in Iraq have issued a scathing denunciation of France on its Web site, saying the country has a "history of oppression and persecution of Muslims and Islam."

"France is one of God's enemies," said a letter addressed to "Islamic organizations, institutions and personalities" from the Islamic Army in Iraq.

There was no word Wednesday of the fate and whereabouts of journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot.

The apparent aim of the note was to rebut those who call for the pair's release and assert that France backs Arab and Muslim causes.

"It pained us to see and hear the heroism of Islamic organizations, institutions and personalities defending France and its position on Muslims and Arabs especially in Iraq," the note said sarcastically.

"History is full of France's wars on Islam and its people" and this reality "will be kept in the hearts of our sons," according to the statement.

"With our martyrs' blood we will weave for them clothes that will burn their bodies and prevent them from sleeping at night until the right is returned to its people."

The statement mentions French attacks on Iraqis in 1991, during the Persian Gulf War era, the country's meddling in "Syria-Lebanese affairs" and France's "occupation of Tunisia and its fight against the Arabic language and Islam."

It also mentions France's involvement with other Asian and African nations, such as Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Palestine, Egypt and Afghanistan.

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