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Court denies Muslim man of German citizenship after refusing to shake woman’s hand

A court in Germany has ruled in favor of denying a Muslim doctor’s citizenship after he refused to shake a woman’s a hand when she gave him his certificate.

The 39-year-old Lebanese national has been living in Germany for 13 years and almost acquired a German citizenship. He also passed the citizenship test with a very high mark. He however failed the process after he refused to shake the hands of a female official in 2015.

The court said that the man’s ‘fundamentalist’ views were at odds with his integration into German society.

The man moved to Germany in 2002 and married a Syrian woman. He promised his wife that he will not shake the hand of another woman.

He started his application for citizenship in 2012 and signed the necessary paperwork vowing to uphold the constitution and reject extremism.

The court said that the handshake incident was not in accordance with Germany’s policy of equality among men and women.

‘’If the applicant refuses to shake hands for gender-specific reasons which are incompatible with the constitution, there is no integration into German living conditions,’’ the court said.

‘’This applies in particular if the refusal to shake hands with the opposite sex – as in this case – serves to further a Salafist conviction about the relationship between men and women,” the court added.

The man’s fundamental belief was rooted in the Salafists group. The sector believes that women pose a threat of sexual temptation when you shake hands with other women.

‘Handshakes are common greeting and farewell rituals that take place regardless of the social status, gender or other personal characteristics of the people involved and go back centuries,’ the judges said.

“While other greetings such as kisses and high-fives are also available, they do not come with the came sense of formality and legal validity,” the court added.

The man can now appeal the decision to a federal court.

Staff Report

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