Swiss citizenship denied over Muslim couple’s refusal to shake hands

28th Sep 2018

Aqila Mumthaz

A Muslim couple, in the Swiss city of Lausanne, were denied citizenship when they refused to shake hands with people of the opposite sex during the interview.

Lausanne Mayor, Gregoire Junod, said the municipality refused to grant the couple citizenship due to “their lack of respect for gender equality.

Not only did the couple not shake hands with people of the opposite sex, but they also struggled to answer questions by members of the opposite sex.”

Junod said the Council questioned the couple months ago to determine if they met the criteria for citizenship, but earlier this month ruled that they had missed the mark on integration.

The Swiss authorities would not divulge on the couple’s specifics and said the couple was not asked about their faith.
Although local media reported that they were North-African and that their religion seemed apparent.
Officials stressed on the couple’s rejection to have not been based on their religion but for their lack of respect for gender equality.

Pierre-Antoine Hildbrand, Deputy Mayor, was part of the commission that questioned the couple, stated that, “the constitution and equality between men and women prevails over bigotry” and said he was pleased with the decision to deny the couple’s application.

Muslims argued that Islam does not allow physical contact with a person of the opposite sex, with the exception of certain immediate family members.

Junod added that “ freedom of belief and religion is enshrined within Swiss law, but that religious practice does not fall outside the law. The couple has 30 days to appeal the decision.

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