France Stands Firm Against Militants' Demands

French officials walk with an Iraqi Sunni cleric following a meeting in Baghdad, Sept. 1, 2004.

French special envoy Huberts Colin de Verdiere, center, and the French ambassador to Iraq, Bernard Bajolet, left, walk with an Iraqi Sunni cleric following a meeting in Baghdad, Sept. 1, 2004. Reuters hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters

The French government is working diplomatic channels to secure the release of two journalists held hostage in Iraq. But France refuses the kidnappers' demands that it withdraw a ban on religious symbols, including Muslim headscarves, in French schools. Hear NPR's Renee Montagne and reporter Eleanor Beardsley.

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