From the Washington Post:
France will not revoke a law banning Muslim head scarves in public schools despite demands by a militant Islamic group holding two French journalists hostage in Iraq.
Give the terrorists responsible this much credit: They are beginning to master Western rights rhetoric, mixing group-based outrage with appeals to individual liberty:
The militants claiming to hold [journalists] Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot described the head scarf law as "an aggression on the Islamic religion and personal freedoms," according to Arab TV station Al-Jazeera.
And give French officials credit for mastering Orwellian doublespeak. "France ensures equality, the respect and protection of the free practicing of all religions," pronounced Jacques Chirac in a televised speech. "These values of respect and tolerance inspire our actions everywhere in the world … They also inspired France's policy in Iraq."
Whole Post piece here.
Depending on how this plays out, I could see this incident becoming a turning point in "Old Europe's" attitudes toward Islamists in the Middle East.