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First Post: Rich Muslim vows to pay all French burka fines

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On the eve of tomorrow’s Bastille Day celebrations, there is more revolution in the air in France and this time the ringleader is a flamboyant Muslim businessman called Rachid Nekkaz. The 38-year-old property developer is incensed that France has moved one step closer to banning the burka, with women caught wearing the full veil in public liable to a €150 fine and anyone convicted of forcing a woman to cover up facing a fine of up to €30,000 and a year in prison.

The first stage in passing the controversial law was today approved in the National Assembly with members of the Lower House voting overwhelmingly – 335 votes for to one against – to introduce the ban. If the French senators in the Upper House ratify the proposal in September, it will become law by the spring of 2011.

Nekkaz (above), along with the majority of France’s five million Muslims, is furious at what he sees as a persecution of his religion, pointing out that fewer than 2,000 French Muslims actually wear the full veil.

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He has begun a campaign to fight the law and he’s pledged one million euros of his own money to pay the fines of any Muslim convicted. Speaking outside the National Assembly, Nekkaz said: “One million sounds a lot, but to protect one’s liberty it’s not much, and I hope that others in this country who hold the constitution dear and want to protect our fundamental liberty will join me in fighting this law.”

The debonair Nekkaz, a shining example of an integrated, modern French Muslim (he was born in France to Algerian parents), has set up a campaign group called ‘Hands off my Constitution’, and plans to raise the €1m by selling some of the properties he owns in the Parisian suburbs.

In front of the cameras he wrote a personal cheque for the seven-figure sum before describing the proposed law as ‘Anti-Constitutional’ and demanding that President Sarkozy shelves the idea.

That seems unlikely. Not only has Sarkozy described the full veil as degrading to women, but it’s an issue that has the overwhelming support of his UMP party. Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said last week that wearing the veil “amounted to being cut off from society and rejecting the very spirit of the French republic that is founded on a desire to live together”.

And the likes of Nekkaz haven’t been helped in fighting the law by the muddled approach of the opposition Socialist Party. They would like to see a ban restricted to state institutions. But that notion was ridiculed by Alliot-Marie, who said it would be “legally incoherent” and impossible to enforce. “How could we convince the French people that freedom, equality and respect for the dignity of women begins in the train station but stops at the exit?”

The Socialists abstained in today’s vote in the Lower House and have said they will adopt a similar stance in September’s Senate vote, in which case it seems certain the law will be written into the French Constitution. But the country’s police force is bracing itself for a backlash. Security was increased at the National Assembly ahead of today’s vote and there are fears of street riots if the bill is passed.
Read more: http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/65806,news-comment,news-politics,rich-muslim-vows-to-pay-all-french-burka-fines#ixzz0tmdthh8D

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Muslim American born in Brooklyn, NY with Guyanese parents currently living in Virginia working full-time as a web developer.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Brother

    July 16, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Mashallah. May Allah give the brother who is doing this barakah and blessings in this life and in the hereafter.

  2. Friend

    July 16, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    This money could have been spent in a better way… scholarship funds for students, “start your business” fund, women’s shelter, endowment for an Islamic university in the west….. and the list goes on..

    Niqaab is not a fard, so taking it off due to the circumstances of this country is, inshaAllah, permissible. If not, then niqabis can leave… but simply giving money to the police department of france is not best way to spend the money of the muslims!

    in my opinion at least :)

    • Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

      July 17, 2010 at 12:01 AM

      The idea is to prevent the law from taking effect so that the fines will not have to be paid. If it is necessary, it will be a way of offering support to sisters who are practicing their religion and being attacked by people who are using hatred of Islam as a ploy to distract voters from their real problems. This is a noble effort, and the notion that you state so lightly that people should be forced to leave their country simply because they wish to observe part of the religion (whether you consider it fardh or not) is troubling.

      Thanks for contributing your opinion but I have to disagree.

    • muslimah

      July 17, 2010 at 12:49 AM

      i feel the same. If you live in france, you gotta follow the rules. I will however avoid saying niqab is not obligatory since there is proof to show otherwise. I dont think it’s wajib either, but i respect those who take the other interpretation.

  3. oblomov

    July 17, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    So, €150 multiplied by the number of masked women,(2,000) we’re already up to €300,000. After the 3rd fine, go-getter Nekkaz’s money will be getting short. Nicolas Sarkozy has nothing against taking money, wherever it comes from.
    “fears of street riots if the bill is passed.” : not really. People are more worried about the pension reforms than in the clothing of an infinitely small minority of victimized and/or demented women.
    Nobody cares much about Islam. Nothing will happen.

  4. Gurabah

    July 18, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    Oblomov get an education!!
    Understand that these women are not victimized by anybody nor are they demented like you say. In fact i think you are backward and demented. As it ever accured to you that they are practising their faith as prescribe for them by Allah the All Mighty wether you understand, agree with it or not. They are not there to please you or your backward, Anti -ISLAM country OF france. It is their right to wear whatever they like and to practise their faith how they see it. Your country is just scared of it cause they know the POWERr of ISLAM.
    Once, Allah willing all the dormant 5 million muslims of france WAKE UP ….. and iam hoping soon before this law is passed, this bill will not fo GO far. I am bit ashamed at the muslims of france for allowing this without a fight or a single movement or voice.
    Alhamdulillah there is at least a brother with some HIMA, courage and love for his Deen to do something …..at least!!!
    ALTHOUGHT i agree that this money should not go to the police department but its the principal. To prevent the law to take effect and to support our beautiful sisters who wear it. Brother Rachid may Allah reward you the like and more for good deeds, ameen!!!

  5. oblomov

    July 18, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    Ok, Guraba piece of this : maybe there are 5m muslims in France, but there are not 5m ignorant and backward ones, most normal muslims will be secretly glad to see all this face-masking disappear along with all those holier-than-thou women who practice it.
    Many of them left their countries to get away from all this kind of mumbo-jumbo.
    There are far more important problems to deal with in the world without wasting time on carnival costumes.

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