Muslim Migrant Who Refused Woman’s Handshake Denied Citizenship by German Judge

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A German court has ruled that a migrant who refused to shake a female official’s hand at a naturalisation ceremony should be denied citizenship.

The Lebanese man, who had passed all the other hurdles to becoming a naturalised citizen, lost out at the eleventh hour when he refused to shake the hand of the woman handing him his documents.

The migrant disputed the withdrawal of citizenship, but an administrative court in Baden-Württemberg found that he had done so because he saw the woman as “posing the threat of sexual seduction”, suggesting he was a “fundamentalist” with “a Salafist worldview.”

“Although there are other recognised greetings in Germany, such as kissing or a ‘high five,’ the handshake holds a special importance,” explained the judges in comments reported by The Telegraph, citing its use in some courts and at the conclusion of business deals.

The judge also noted that the handshake “has a long tradition of signalling greeting or saying farewell that exists irrespective of social status or sex” in German culture.

The migrant tried to argue that he had made a promise to his wife that he would never touch a woman other than her — which would make carrying out his reported job as a doctor rather difficult — and that he would forego shaking hands with anyone of any sex in future, but the court was unmoved.

He may appeal the decision at the federal level, however.

Germany’s then-president Joachim Gauck was embarrassed in 2016 when a Muslim girl refused his hand at a photo-op event intended to show how well migrants were integrating German society after Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the country’s borders the year prior.

Some other European countries have, as in Baden-Württemberg, insisted that migrants accept the handshaking system as a vital part of demonstrating their willingness to integrate.

A French court denied citizenship to an Algerian woman who refused to shake hands with an official at a naturalisation ceremony in 2018, and in the Swiss canton of Basel the authorities have gone even further, insisting that Muslims school pupils who refuse to shake hands with female teachers must do so or face expulsion and fines of up to €4,500 for their parents.

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