From The New York Times: Hostages Urge France to Repeal Its Scarf Ban.
[Hostage] Georges Malbrunot, who writes for the daily newspapers Le Figaro and Ouest-France, said, "I appeal to the French people and every Frenchman who appreciates the meaning of life to stage demonstrations demanding that the law banning the Islamic veil be revoked, because our lives are in danger and we might die any minute if this law, which I urge President Chirac to revoke, is not abrogated." [...]
The law bans conspicuous religious symbols from public elementary and high schools. It is scheduled to go into effect when schools open on Thursday. [...]
... Iraq's prime minister, Ayad Allawi, said the kidnapping proved that France's position on Iraq -- presumably its opposition to the war and the absence of a troop presence -- offered no protection from terrorism.
"Neutrality doesn't exist, as the kidnapping of the French journalists has shown," Mr. Allawi said in an interview with several European and American newspapers. "The French are deluding themselves if they think they can remain outside of this. Today the extremists are targeting them, too."
That realization, that opposition to the American-led war in Iraq has not provided immunity from Iraq-related terrorism, appears to have sunk in here [in France] as well.
"Nobody is safe," said an editorial in Le Monde on Monday. "No diplomacy can claim to be any kind of Maginot line that would protect us better than our Spanish or Italian neighbors from the death wish that has been at work since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."
More accurately, a policy of appeasement with terrorists and dictators is a Maginot line, i.e., an ineffective line of defense. Worse still, appeasement acts as a lure to evil, inviting more and more blackmail because it rewards blackmail. That is why diplomatic compromise with Islamists -- whether in France or Najaf -- only furthers their cause and, ultimately, threatens western liberty. As the Times article notes:
[I]n an audiotape broadcast by a Dubai-based television channel in February, Ayman Zawahiri, the No. 2 figure in the terrorist network Al Qaeda, condemned France for defending the freedom of nudity and depravity and fighting chastity and decency with the scarf ban, adding that such anti-Muslim acts by the West should be dealt with by tank shells and antiaircraft missiles.
Robert Tracinski summed up the issue in today's TIA Daily:
The Europeans have long clung to the fantasy that certain specific "grievances" -- treatment of Israel and the Palestinians, US "Imperialism," and so on -- are the cause of terrorism. In reality, as French President Jacques Chirac is discovering, Islamic terrorists hate the West because of what we are -- and because we stand in the way of the global Islamic theocracy they long to impose.
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