No Handshake Exemption for Muslim Students, Swiss Canton Rules

Schools are the battleground for culture wars. A tradition in Switzerland – shaking a teacher’s hand as a sign of respect – has attracted global attention because of the conflict between gender equality and religious belief. Parents or guardians of students who refuse to shake a teacher’s hand can face fines of up to 5000 Swiss francs. The local school had tried to grant two boys, ages 14 and 15, an exemption to the tradition but Swiss regional authorities reversed that accommodation. Muslims are opposed to touching members of the opposite sex unless they are family members. Swiss authorities maintained, according to Middle East Eye, that “The public interest concerning gender equality as well as integration of foreigners is far greater than that concerning the freedom of belief of students.” Switzerland, a country of 8 million people, has 350,000 Muslims. Similar conflicts have emerged about swimming and gym classes as well as coverings. Muslim confronting similar dilemmas have maintained that greetings other than handshakes can still signal respect. – YaleGlobal

No Handshake Exemption for Muslim Students, Swiss Canton Rules

A strict policy on handshakes as a sign of respect for teachers in Switzerland, resisted by young Muslims draws global scrutiny
Thursday, May 26, 2016

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