London, July 1 (ANI): Al-Qaeda has asked Muslims to retaliate against France for its opposition to the burqa, and threatened to attack the country, according to SITE Intelligence, the US monitoring service.
President Nicolas Sarkozy said earlier this month that his government was considering banning the burqa and other Islamic clothing, which French MPs claim is degrading to women.
"Yesterday was the hijab (the Islamic headscarf long banned in French schools) and today, it is the niqab (the full veil)," The Telegraph quoted al Qaeda's North Africa leader Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, 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," he said.
"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 sharia," added Abdul Wadud said.
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 burqa 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 secular France.
The French National Assembly set up an inquiry into the rising number of Muslim women who wear the burqa. (ANI)