Hundreds of Muslims in South Korea on Friday urged Taliban insurgents to immediately release South Korean hostages they have been holding since July 19 in Afghanistan.
During their weekly prayer session at the Seoul Central Masjid, the Muslims also spent five minutes grieving over the death of Bae Hyung-kyu, a 42-year-old pastor who was killed by Taliban forces six days after he was taken hostage along with 22 other Koreans, Yonhap News Agency reported.
"We, Korea Muslim Federation and the Muslims in Korea, express our deepest condolences for the Korean victim in Afghanistan and share his family's sense of bereavement," said Abdul Rashid from Thailand, who gave a sermon in English, Arabic and Korean to the somber audience, according to the agency.
Quoting a verse from the al-Qur'an, "kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause," Rashid stressed that it would not be "true Islam" if the Taliban killed the hostages.
"Islam respects human life," he added. Some 600 Muslims participated in the gathering also prayed for the release of the 22 hostages, according to public broadcaster KBS.
The South Korean government is continuing to negotiate with the Taliban for the release of the remaining hostages despite the passing of the latest deadline, which the insurgents said would not be extended.
Seoul officials said various "contacts" with the kidnappers were still underway, and they hope to have continued contacts past the deadline.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Temmuz 2007, 18:53