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'I’ll pay Denmark niqab fines': French-Algerian millionaire

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'I’ll pay Denmark niqab fines': French-Algerian millionaire
Rachid Nekkaz in Denmark in March. Photo: Uffe Weng/Ritzau Scanpix
14:18 CEST+02:00
Rachid Nekkaz, a French-Algerian businessman and activist, has said he will keep a promise he made earlier this year to pay fines issued in Denmark for breaches of the new law against face-masking garments.

The law, popularly known as the ‘burqa ban’, came into effect last week, to protests in Copenhagen and Aarhus from Muslim women who wear the veil and others who oppose it.

Nekkaz told Berlingske that he would pay fines after a 29-year-old woman in Hørsholm became the first to be penalised under the law.

“Of course I will pay all the fines that are issued on the streets of Denmark after August 1st,” he told Berlingske via written message.

The businessman will travel to Copenhagen to pay the fines, he added.

“I will be in Copenhagen on September 11th to pay all the fines, and will thereafter do this every month, because even though I am against the niqab, I will always defend freedom across the world. Freedom to wear the niqab as well as freedom not to wear the niqab,” he said.

First offences under the law are punishable with fines of 1,000 kroner, while repeat offences can be fined up to 10,000 kroner.

The 46-year-old, who was born in France to Algerian parents, has paid fines amounting to hundreds of thousands of euros, by his own estimation, for women in countries including Belgium, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands and Germany.

“I have paid 1,538 fines,” he said in March when announcing his intention to cover the cost of the then-proposed Danish niqab penalties.

“There is no limit to how much I will pay. Freedom has no limit,” he said at the time.

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