Islam has established the healthiest relations between men and women that have protected women from the immorality and depravity which some Western women are sunk in, the message read. Muslims believe in Islam, peace, and justice and the prevention of violence and immorality, he added.
Muslims are committed to follow the highest principles of civilization and progress and the Quran’s redemptive verses, the grand ayatollah explained. He also expressed thanks to Rachid Nekkaz, a French businessman who has offered to pay the fines of any woman caught wearing the niqab (face veil) or the burka in France, where the government is seeking to prohibit women from wearing the niqab and the burka.
“I congratulate you for your honest stance, which is based on your Islamic and humanitarian common sense,” Grand Ayatollah Golpayegani wrote. “Your action is a support of personal freedom and a defense of women’s sanctity in the holy religion of Islam. It is women’s right to cover themselves from men in public, and no law can deprive women of this right.”
The niqab ban moved a step closer toward becoming a law in September, when the French Senate, which is the upper house of parliament, ratified the ban.
Earlier, the National Assembly of France, which is the lower house of parliament, voted overwhelmingly to introduce the ban. If the law comes into force, a woman wearing the niqab or the burka in public will be fined €150. France's Constitutional Council approved the law in October, and it is scheduled to come into force by the spring of 2011. Over five million Muslims live in France, and many have expressed opposition to the ban.
Rachid Nekkaz, a successful property developer, has pledged one million euros from his pocket to pay the fines of any woman fined for wearing the niqab or the burka. Nekkaz has said that he and other Muslim French citizens feel that the move is an act of religious persecution and a direct attack on the liberty and freedom of individuals.