Hervé Gourdel, the French tourist recently kidnapped in Algeria, has been beheaded following French President Hollande’s refusal to halt air raids on the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)”. The 55-year-old mountaineering guide had no idea that his hiking trip to Algeria would have cost him his life.

The hiker arrived in Algeria last Saturday and was abducted, the following day, while trekking in the heart of the Djurdjura National Park. The kidnapping was claimed by the so-called “Jund Al-Khilafah” (“soldiers of the Caliphate”), an Algerian armed group linked to “ISIL”. The group had given a 24-hour ultimatum to France to stop the air strikes, but the French Government did not yield to what it considered as blackmail. Hervé Gourdel’s barbarian execution is not an isolated case; it is just one of the copious abductions and executions carried out by religious extremist groups in the MENA region and vindicated in the name of Allah.

The Geneva Centre strongly condemns the terrorist acts perpetrated by these groups, and wishes to reiterate its full support to the fight against terrorism and religious intolerance. We would like to join the Muslim communities in London and Paris in reminding that, under the Holy Qur’an, such criminal actions are impermissible and prohibited, and are considered haram (sin). They cannot be, in any case, justified in the name of Allah.

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