Ban on the full veil in Switzerland: Algerian millionaire Rachid Nekkaz will pay fines for veiled women
On March 7, the Swiss voted in favour of banning the Islamic full-face veil. But the Algerian millionaire Rachid Nekkaz has announced that he wants to circumvent this measure by paying the fines out of his pocket.
Published: March 23, 2021, 11:50 am
As he has done for years in several European countries, the Algerian millionaire has let it be known that he was ready to pay the fines of Swiss citizens fined for wearing the Islamic veil. His announcement comes following a vote organized in Switzerland on Sunday March 7.
Swiss citizens voted, with 52 percent of the vote, in favour of banning the concealment of the face in public spaces. It is a measure which, without saying so explicitly, particularly targets the Islamic veil. The initiative of the Algerian businessman, who made his fortune in real estate, intends to “defend the freedom” of women who “voluntarily” wear the Islamic veil.
Sputnik France reported that Rachid Nekkaz already involved himself in this kind of intervention in other European countries. In 2016, he also announced that he had paid more than a thousand fines of this type in France.
Nekkaz, however, claims that he is not a fanatic Islamist, advocating the veiling of all women. On the one hand, he claims to only refer to the niqab, which “only” conceals the face, unlike the burka which veils the entire body and positions a wire mesh in front of the eyes. On the other hand, the millionaire also claims to pay the fines of women who do not wish to wear the veil in countries where it is mandatory, such as Iran or Sudan.
Rachid Nekkaz’s methods evidently flirt with illegality. In 2011, he even claimed to succeed in “neutralizing the law” in Belgium, reported France 24. His meddling had pushed the French government, in 2016, to modify the 1881 law on press freedom. The amendment aimed to prohibit “the public announcement of subscriptions intended to compensate fines”.
In August 2018, he traveled to Denmark to pay the fines of women who had breached the laws on face-covering clothing. In response, political parties Danish People’s Party and Venstre proposed to change the law from simply a fine to also include 7 days in jail for repeat offenders.
In September 2018, he appeared outside the parliament of Denmark to reimburse the money to any individuals who had been fined under Denmark’s burka ban. He was dressed with an Algerian and a Danish flag around his neck and held a picture showing Danish politician Lars Løkke Rasmussen and mujahideen in his hand. At the scene, media and police were present, but nobody showed up to have their fines reimbursed.
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