France's push to ban the Islamic full-face veil has been attacked by al Qaida's deputy leader.
Ayman al-Zawahri urged Muslim women in a new audio message on the internet to defend their headdress in a holy war against the "secular Western crusade".
Zawahri said the drive by France and some other European nations is a discrimination against Muslim women.
In the 47-minute recording released on militant websites, al Qaida's deputy leader also praised the terror network's reputed third in command, who was killed with his family in a US strike in Pakistan in May.
Zawahri praised Mustafa al-Yazid's sacrifice and went on to claim that although al Qaida militants killed in Iraq outnumber US soldiers 100 to one, the US will still withdraw from Iraq in defeat.