Muslim couple denied Swiss citizenship over handshake refusal

Muslim couple denied Swiss citizenship over handshake refusal

The Swiss city of Lausanne blocked a Muslim couple’s bid to become Swiss nationals over their refusal to shake hands with members of the opposite sex.

Saturday, 18 August 2018 19:49

The municipality said it refused to grant the couple’s citizenship application over what it called their lack of respect for gender equality, Lausanne mayor Gregoire Junod said.

He said a municipal commission had questioned the couple several months ago to determine if they met the criteria for citizenship, but had determined in the ruling made public on Friday that they missed the mark on integration.

He refused to divulge the couple’s nationalities or other identifying details, but said they “did not shake hands with people of the opposite sex”.

They also “showed great difficulty in answering questions asked by people of the opposite sex,” he said.

Islam does not permit physical contact with a person of the opposite sex, with the exception of certain immediate family members.

Junod pointed out that freedom of belief and religion is enshrined in the laws of the Canton of Vaud, which encompasses Lausanne.

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