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Azhar urges Philippine captors to free Arabiya reporter

Published on Feb 28, 2013 12:40 AM

CAIRO (AFP) - The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the top religious authority for Sunni Muslims, on Wednesday urged Islamist militants in the Philippines to free a reporter with Al-Arabiya news channel seized in June.

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb called upon kidnappers to "revert to right and religious principles... which stress that kidnapping and terrorism are prohibited," in a statement released by his office in Egypt's capital.

He urged the kidnappers of Bakr Atyani, a Jordanian journalist working for Dubai-based Al-Arabiya, to set him free and let him "return safely" to his family.

"This shameful act of kidnapping, terrorism and putting risking the lives of people for a small sum of money, contradicts the principles of Islam," Sheikh Tayeb said.

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