Kidnapping infidels and releasing them for ransom or killing them -- whichever is more advantageous for the Muslims -- is fully sanctioned in Islamic law: "As for the captives, the amir [ruler] has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale and manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them. Allah, may he be exalted, says, 'When you encounter those [infidels] who deny [the Truth=Islam] then strike [their] necks' (Qur'an sura 47, verse 4)" — Abu’l-Hasan al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah (The Laws of Islamic Governance), trans. by Dr. Asadullah Yate, (London), Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., 1996, p. 192.
"Islamist group claims kidnap of foreigners in Nigeria," by Chukwuemeka Madu for Reuters, February 18 (thanks to all who sent this in):
(Reuters) - An Islamist group linked to al Qaeda claimed responsibility on Monday for kidnapping seven foreigners in an attack in a remote Nigerian town at the weekend, when raiders used explosives to blast their way into a housing compound in a hail of gunfire.
Gunmen killed a security guard and abducted a Briton, an Italian, a Greek and four Lebanese workers after storming the compound of Lebanese construction firm Setraco in Jama'are in Bauchi state late on Saturday.
It was the worst case of foreigners being kidnapped in the mostly Muslim north of Africa's most populous country since an insurgency by Islamist militants intensified two years ago.
"By Allah's grace (we) have the custody of seven persons, which include Lebanese and their European counterparts working with Setraco," read a statement from Ansaru, a group that has kidnapped other foreigners in Nigeria in the past.
The kidnapping was "based on the transgression and atrocities done to the religion of Allah by the European countries in many places such as Afghanistan and Mali," the statement said...