French Tycoon Vows $1M to Pay Burka Fines

Goal is to render the new law useless
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser User
Posted Jul 15, 2010 3:37 AM CDT
A new French law makes head coverings likes the niqab, pictured, illegal in public spaces.   (AP Photo/ Fred Ernst, File)

(Newser) – A French tycoon enraged by his country's 'Burka ban' plans to set up a $1 million fund to help Muslim women fined for wearing the burka or niqab on the street. Rachid Nekkaz, a real estate magnate of Algerian origin, considers the ban "anti-constitutional" and has personally pledged more than $200,000 to the cause. He had received tens of thousands more in donations within 24 hours of announcing the plan, the Guardian, reports.

"This is very serious," Nekkaz says. "This would never happen in the United States or the United Kingdom." Under the new law, passed by the France's lower house by an overwhelming margin and expected to be approved by the Senate later this year, women will face $200 fines for wearing the face-covering garment. In May, Italy made news for fining a niqab-wearing Tunisian immigrant $650. The same month, France witnessed it's first known case of 'Burka rage.' Click here to read more about the case.

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