France’s infamous ‘polygamous Muslim butcher’ was back in the headlines Monday, this time because two of his supposed wives were caught wearing the niqab, or full Muslim veil, on the school run. The development is the latest twist in a surreal tale that we have yet to hear the last of.
The Halal butcher owner from the western city of Nantes, who has been accused over the past few years of polygamy, terrorist activity, aggravated rape and benefit fraud, is back in court again again. This time, Lies Hebbadj is in trouble on behalf of two of his partners, who were caught wearing the niqab in public (illegal under French law since April), and fined 140 euros each.
Hebbadj first made it into the headlines in April 2010 when his legal wife was arrested for wearing a niqab while driving a car, which the police deemed dangerous. Ticking every box on the ‘unwelcome immigrant checklist’ (despite arriving in France at the age of two), he effortlessly embodied the far-right’s raison d’etre and shot to fame as the ‘polygamous Muslim butcher from Nantes’. The accusations – that he had travelled to Pakistan to train as a terrorist, lived with four women, had dozens of children, was running an Islamist sect – soon started to fly.
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