Swedish Police announced that they support a Muslim male officer who refuses to shake women’s hands because they “embrace diversity.”
The Muslim male, who has not been named, was recently hired by Swedish police to work as a passport control officer in Skåne. Only weeks after beginning his new job the man started conflicts by refusing to shake hands with his female colleagues.
The conflict, according to the Muslim officer, comes from his religious duty as a Muslim not to touch women who are not related to him. The Swedish police issued a statement on the matter saying that they sided not with the female officers, but rather with the Muslim man because in their words, “we in the police will embrace diversity,” SVT reports.
One of the female police officers who worked with the man told Swedish media, “he did not shake my hand when we would visit. I do not speak about it, because I have decided to submit the case to management.” According to the female officer the man would greet her with a hand on his heart, akin to a Roman-style salute.
The Muslim countered the claim of the female officer saying that he was the victim of discrimination by the women and other colleagues who complained. Fredrik Brokopp a police officer in Helsingborg commented on the reaction the matter has had in the Swedish policing community saying, “this had naturally provoked reactions. Several people have come to me to talk about it.”
Eva-Gun Westford, spokeswoman for the Swedish police said that the matter has been extensively discussed by police in Skåne and they could find no fault in the actions of the Muslim officer. “He was immensely saddened by the incident. The conclusion of this matter is that he has not done anything wrong. We in the police will embrace diversity,” she said.
The incident is only the latest in a series of stories involving Muslims in various vocations and often official duties who refuse to shake hands with women. Swedish Green Party politician Yasri Khan withdrew his candidacy after refusing to shake hands with a female journalist during a television interview.
It was revealed several weeks later that the Green Party was suspected of having been infiltrated by hard-line Islamists after a series of scandals. Lars Nicander of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College said the risk of Islamist infiltration into Swedish life was akin to Soviet infiltration during the Cold War.
While some, like the Swedish police, approve of Muslims refusing to shaking hands, increasingly many politicians do not. In Germany, Julia Klöckner of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, after being refused a handshake by an Imam, said that migrants must adapt to Germany and not the other way around. A similar attitude was present in Switzerland after a pair of Muslim boys refused to shake their teachers hand and the school board told the paid to shake hands or face expulsion.