Delayed Everyday Hero Award: Rachid Nekkaz

Back in 2011 Belgium passed a law banning the Niqab, the veil warn by some Islamic women as part of their religious beliefs.

This followed France’s similar decision a year earlier, which was passed into law in September 2010. The law banned all face coverings in public places, but many felt it was unfair to punish Muslim women for their beliefs. It didn’t help that the Hijab, a Muslim head scarf had already been banned from French schools, adding to the impression that the law was targeting the Islamic faith.

Personally, I think the proof would have to be in whether or not the French police arrested a ton of people on Halloween a month after the law came into effect. Somehow I doubt it.

With hefty fines (around 150 euros, around £125) being attached to the wearing of these garments Muslim women who wore them faced a choice- abandon a religious belief or pay a fine. From my viewpoint, the law was wrong. It was a breach of human rights and stifled the rights of these women to practise their religion as they wished.

Step forward French businessman Rachid Nekkaz. Having made his money online and in real estate Nekkaz was a wealthy man, and set up an organization called Touche pas a ma constitution (Hands off my constitution), which was set up with a pledge to pay the fines of any woman convicted of wearing the burka in public, with Nekkaz giving 2 million euros to the pot.

I think this is brilliant. Nekkaz was standing up for the religious freedoms of others and putting his money where his mouth was. Here’s a picture of Nekkaz with one of the women who’s fines he covered in Belgium.

nekkaz

Bien fait, Mr Nekkaz.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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