20 September 2018

Danish mayors vow to ignore citizenship handshake plan

Opposition is growing in Denmark to plans by the ruling rightwing coalition to deny citizenship to any immigrant who declines to shake hands with their local mayor during a revamped naturalisation ceremony – a measure widely seen as targeting Muslims.

An opinion poll published on Thursday showed 52% of respondents opposed the proposal, part of tough new rules for obtaining Danish citizenship introduced by the minority conservative government in June. Several mayors have said they will ignore the requirement if the law is passed.

.... Some Muslims do not shake hands for religious reasons, preferring instead to place a hand on their chest in a gesture of polite greeting. The practice has caused problems in several countries including Denmark, where in 2015 a taxi driver won DKK10,000 (now about £1,200) in compensation after being sacked for refusing to shake his female employer’s hand.

In Switzerland last month, a Muslim couple were denied citizenship because they refused to shake hands with members of the opposite sex at interviews. In Sweden a woman was awarded SEK40,000 (£3,400) after her job interview was cut short when she refused to shake hands with a male interviewer. France’s top court ruled this year that an Algerian woman’s refusal to shake hands with male officials at a naturalisation ceremony was reason enough to deny her citizenship. [The Guardian] Read more