Civilization Jihad

Swiss Gov’t: Muslim Students Must Shake Hands With Female Teachers

High court rules that, in Switzerland, equality between men and women "outweighs the freedom of religion.”

BY CounterJihad · @CounterjihadUS | June 2, 2016

In the early spring, a story out of Switzerland indicated that Muslim students might be granted an exception to a longstanding cultural practice of shaking hands with their teachers.  In Switzerland, students shake the hands of their teachers at the beginning and ending of class — a practice somewhat similar to the way that American youth sports teams line up and shake hands at the end of a game.  The Swiss practice is meant to affirm both respect, but also that the teacher’s relationship to the student is friendly.

However, some teachers in Switzerland are women.  Therein lay the problem.  The two boys, who were sons of an imam seeking asylum in Switzerland, insisted that touching a woman was a violation of their religion.  It was also, they said, an unfair imposition of the host culture upon their own culture.  They demanded an exception to the practice, and were temporarily granted one.

That exception has now been forcefully overturned by Switzerland’s government.  Not only have they ruled that the students must shake the female teachers’ hands or pay a $5,000 fine, they also have halted the immigration processes for the imam father.

The local education department in Therwil, which is near the city of Basel, said in a statement Wednesday that the final decision was made because “the public interest with respect to equality between men and women and the integration of foreigners significantly outweighs the freedom of religion.”

This came after the citizenship process for the teens’ family was halted due to the incident. Authorities are now looking into their father’s 2001 asylum claim. He is an imam.

Last month, Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga went on television to say that “the handshake is part of our culture.”

“We cannot accept this in the name of religious freedom,” she said.

Naturally the boys have received some support from the radical Islamic Central Council of Switzerland.  The group, which once used the Star of David to liken Muslim suffering in Switzerland to Jewish suffering during the Holocaust, decried the ruling.  They said that making the boys shake hands with women was “totalitarian” insofar as it “forbid[s] religious people from meeting their obligations to God.”  The Central Council is trying to build a mega-mosque in Bern, and seeks to open its own television station as well, doubtless in part in order to better transmit the idea that it is “totalitarian” to make people shake hands with women.

The incident reaffirms what Muslim reformer Kamel Daoud refers to as the Muslim world’s “sick relationship with women.”  He lists what he calls absurd fatwas about men and women, such that “making love naked is prohibited; women may not touch bananas; a man can be alone with a female colleague only if she is his milk-mother, and she has nursed him.”

The ban on handshakes is not limited to one imam whose citizenship is now in question.  Last year, Iran extended a female cartoonist’s prison sentence because of her shaking her lawyer’s hand.  He was male.  He was also thrown in jail, just long enough that he couldn’t conduct her appeal.  The result was that the young woman lost her chance to contest a 12 year sentence for her exercise of free speech against the government.


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