Muslim couple denied Swiss citizenship over handshake refusal

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A Muslim couple has been denied Swiss citizenship after they refused to shake hands with members of the opposite sex.

Lausanne city’s mayor Gregoire Junod Said, Swiss official had refused to grant the couple’s citizenship application, citing their lack of respect for gender equality.

He added, the commission had questioned the couple several months ago to determine if they met the criteria for citizenship. The ruling had been made public on Friday that they missed the mark on integration.

However, he added, freedom of belief and religion, which is enshrined in the laws of the municipality, doesn’t contradict the commission’s decision. He did, however, refuse to reveal the couple’s nationality or other details.

The couple has 30 days to appeal their case, Junod added.

The decision to deny citizenship was backed by Lausanne’s vice-mayor, Pierre-Antoine Hildbrand who said he was “very satisfied with the decision” to deny the couple’s application.

The decision to not grant the couple citizenship comes a few days after a Swedish court ruled that a 24-year-old Muslim woman whose job interview was terminated when she refused to shake hands with a man had won compensation.

Farah Alhajeh had been applying for a job as an interpreter when she declined to shake the hand of a male interviewer for religious reasons.

However, this is not the first time a handshake has become a national issue in the country.

In 2016, a school in Switzerland school had allowed two students, brothers from a Syrian immigrant family, not to shake their female teachers’ hands after they claimed that it was against their beliefs.

2018-08-19

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