Denmark Proposes Law Requiring Migrants to Shake Hands to Receive Citizenship

China's President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) at the Great Hall of the People on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Beijing on November 10, 2014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing …

The Danish government put forward a bill which would require migrants to shake hands with a municipal official before receiving citizenship — but several leftist mayors have said they will refuse to obey the law even if it is passed in parliament.

John Schmidt Andersen, Frederikssund’s far-left mayor, is one of the local politicians who has said he will ignore the law, saying: “It’s symbolism. It’s not very liberal to force people to shake hands if you come from a culture where you are greeted in a different way.”

The bill will also make attending the citizenship ceremony, which will be facilitated by at least one or more representatives of the municipality in which they reside, mandatory to become a citizen, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.

Should the new handshake bill pass into law, it would not make Denmark the only country in Europe that could refuse citizenship for the refusal to shake an official’s hand. Earlier this year, in both France and Switzerland, Muslims were denied citizenship for refusing to shake the hands of government officials.

Danish Integration Minister Inger Støjberg defended the new bill saying that shaking hands was part of Danish culture and represents an acceptance of Danish culture and Danish values.

Støjberg also commented on the various municipal officials who said they would purposely disobey the proposed law, warning: “In Denmark, you comply with the law even if you disagree with its content.”

Støjberg has become known for her tough stance on the assimilation of migrants, spearheading a radical new programme to integrate children living in migrant-populated ghettos in July. The programme aims to enrol migrant children as young as one in Danish language classes and other integration classes with the goal of preventing segregation and criminality.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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