Estonia's Muslims Urge Freedom for Lebanon Kidnap Victims

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Estonia's small Muslim community on Friday appealed to the people of Lebanon and Syria to help secure the release of seven tourists from the Baltic state kidnapped in Lebanon in March.

"We are turning to all of you to help release the tourists from Estonia, because they are as close to all of us as the members of your families are to you," Timur Seifullen and Mufti Ildar Muhamedshin, the leaders of the Estonian Islamic Congregation, said in a joint statement.

The seven men, all in their 30s, were kidnapped on March 23 after entering Lebanon on a bicycle tour from neighboring Syria.

The case remains shrouded in mystery with little information on their whereabouts or those behind the abduction.

Several people have been arrested in Lebanon in connection with the case but there is no clear evidence as to who ordered the kidnapping or where the men are.

The men appealed for help in two videos posted on the Internet in April and earlier this month, but their abductors have made no demands, officials say.

Sources say that investigators have determined that the first video was uploaded in the Syrian capital Damascus.

Estonia, a former Soviet-ruled republic of 1.3 million people which joined the European Union in 2004, has a Muslim community estimated at only a few thousand.

Most of its members are Tatars originally from Russia or hail from other ex-Soviet republics such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan.

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