Swiss ruling: Muslim pupils must shake teachers’ hands
Muslim schoolboys in Switzerland have been told they must shake their female teachers’ hands or see their parents pay a fine of up to 5,000 SFr (£3,500).
According to the Independent, the Canton of Basel-Landschaft said it would enforce the rule in all cases following an incident that caused uproar at a school in Therwil earlier this year, when two students refused to shake their teacher’s hand because they said physical contact with a woman outside their family went against their religion.
The pupils were given a temporary waiver from shaking any teacher’s hand while local authorities discussed the issue.
The decision to exempt the students was condemned by Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga, above, who said shaking hands was part of Swiss culture and daily life and that such dispensation for children was not her idea of integration.
In a ruling issued last week, Canton officials said all schools had been informed of the new rules enabling parents to be fined up to and children disciplined in a “necessary and proportionate” manner if they continue to refuse.
A statement by the local Department of Education, Culture and Sport said:
A teacher has the right to demand a handshake. The public interest with respect to equality between men and women and the integration of foreigners significantly outweighs students’ freedom of conscience (freedom of religion).
Refusing to shake a person’s hand on religious grounds amounted to a “religious act” separate from permitted expressions like wearing a headscarf or declining swimming lessons, the decision said, adding:
The social gesture of handshake is important for students’ employability later in their professional lives.
Incidentally, the comments thread beneath the Independent report was hijacked by our old foe, Iftikhar Ahmad, of the London school of Islamics who banged on at interminable length about wanting – yes, Freethinker regulars will have guessed it – Muslim schools for Muslim children.
Terrorism and sexual grooming is nothing to do with Masajid, Imams and Muslim schools. Those Muslim youths who have been involved in terrorism and sexual grooming are the product of western education system which makes a man stupid, selfish and corrupt … Swiss must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different … blah, blah, blah …
One commenter responded:
Lol. Are you secretly just some bored English guy looking to stir the pot? Come on, admit it. Steve? Bob? Because I find it hard to believe someone can talk about respect while at the same time endorsing the disrespect of an entire country. You have to be a troll. Nobody’s that much a (insert preferred expletive here).
Ahmad has been barred from trolling this site as well as the Freethinker‘s Facebook page.
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