French Muslims protest against Islamic State (IS) militants

Paris: Thousands of Muslims in France took to the streets in the country's major cities to denounce the beheading of mountain guide Herve Gourdel in eastern Algeria.

In Paris Friday, hundreds of Muslims were gathered outside the Grand Mosque with banners saying, "stop barbarism" and "Not in my name", Xinhua reported.

"Herve Gourdel was the victim of a cowardly murder. Islam demands respect of life and bans the assassination of an innocent," Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grand Mosque said.

"The Koran tells us that to kill one man is to kill all humanity. Today's gathering shows our rejection of such acts and our willingness to live together," he said.

Kidnapped last Sunday in Tizi Ouzou, east of Algeria by the Caliphate Soldiers, a group linked to Islamic State (IS), Gourdel, 55, was beheaded just 24 hours after an ultimatum was given to France to stop airstrikes against the latter group.

In response to the US-led coalition bombing aimed at eradicating IS militants, the IS urged followers to attack Westerners.

Islam is the second-most widely practiced religion in France accounting for 10 percent of the country's population.

France has the largest number of Muslims in Western Europe.

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