18 April 2016

Family in handshake row wants to be Swiss

The family of the two Muslim schoolboys who refused to shake hands with their female teachers has applied for Swiss citizenship, a local paper has discovered.

The teenagers’ father – an imam at a Basel mosque – placed an application in January, authorities in the canton of Basel-country confirmed to the Basler Zeitung newspaper.

The two schoolboys, aged 14 and 15, from Therwil in Basel-country, caused outrage in Switzerland last month when they said they did not want to shake their female teachers’ hands because to do so went against Islam, which prohibits physical contact with the opposite sex aside from immediate family.

Seeking a compromise with the students but wanting to avoid discriminating female teachers, their school took the decision to exempt the boys from shaking any teacher’s hand.

The decision was seen as an affront to Swiss customs and caused consternation across the country, with Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga insisting that “shaking hands is part of our culture”. [The Local] Read more