News & Politics

Muslim Couple Bites Swiss Helping Hand

For centuries the Swiss — whether German, French, or Italian — have been proudly insular in their mountain fastness, resolutely avoiding European conflicts. While hospitable to tourists, they’re happy to see them spend their money and then get the hell out, and don’t hand out citizenship lightly. Especially not when the prospective citizens bite the hand that’s offered them:

A Muslim couple have been refused Swiss citizenship after refusing to shake hands with people of the opposite sex, officials said. The couple were interviewed for citizenship several months ago in the city of Lausanne, and also “showed great difficulty in answering questions asked by people of the opposite sex,” mayor Gregoire Junod said, as quoted by AFP. Junod would not divulge the couple’s names or nationalities, but said they “did not shake hands with people of the opposite sex.”

Swiss authorities say that aspiring citizens must show they have integrated into Swiss culture, and must demonstrate respect for Swiss law and institutions.

Despite Switzerland enshrining freedom of religion in its laws, Junod said the application was turned down because “religious practice does not fall outside the law.” Officials stressed the couple were not turned down because of their religion, but because they failed to show a respect for gender equality.

“The constitution and equality between men and women prevails over bigotry,” said Pierre-Antoine Hilbrand, who was part of the commission that interviewed the couple. Some devout Muslims say their religion prohibits them having any physical contact with members of the opposite sex excluding some members of their immediate family.

Gee, that’s too damn bad. With public sentiment (although not official sentiment) now swinging heavily against the admission of Muslims into Western society — especially with the examples of Sweden and France before them — Muslims need to understand that admission to civilized countries requires an acceptance of civilized norms. And if they don’t like it, they can always return to their own “countries.”