Switzerland board rules Muslim boys must shake female teachers' hands

Scorpion

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Muslim schoolboys told to shake hands with female teacher or face £3,500 fine in Switzerland



Muslim schoolboys in Switzerland have been told they must shake their female teachers’ hands or see their parents pay a fine of up to 5,000 SFr (£3,500).

The Canton of Basel-Landschaft said it would enforce the rule in all cases following an incident that caused uproar at a school in Therwil earlier this year, when two students refused to shake their teacher's hand because they said physical contact with a woman outside their family went against their religion.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/muslim-schoolboys-told-to-shake-hands-with-female-teacher-or-face-3500-fine-in-switzerland-a7049446.html

Where is the world going!
 

franky

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Where is the world going!
Agreed! Shaking hands with teachers is not a common practice in my country, but as I understood it is indeed in Switzerland, which is known as a country with high manners and politeness. Also, not wanting to shake hands with someone in Switzerland is seen as a first step in showing anger or disrespect. All that would explain why something like this spurred so many reactions there.

Shaking hands is not some serious type of physical contact and I think that rule about being non-physical with women outside their family is being overblown here. Come on, even the Saudi king does it: pic1, pic2, pic3, pic4.
 

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Agreed! Shaking hands with teachers is not a common practice in my country, but as I understood it is indeed in Switzerland, which is known as a country with high manners and politeness. Also, not wanting to shake hands with someone in Switzerland is seen as a first step in showing anger or disrespect. All that would explain why something like this spurred so many reactions there.

Shaking hands is not some serious type of physical contact and I think that rule about being non-physical with women outside their family is being overblown here. Come on, even the Saudi king does it: pic1, pic2, pic3, pic4.
Why would I be forced to shake someone else's hand! I know many people who do not prefer to shake hands for one reason or another. Its not a big deal after all.
 

franky

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Why would I be forced to shake someone else's hand! I know many people who do not prefer to shake hands for one reason or another. Its not a big deal after all.
It may not seem as a big deal to us, but it's simply a social norm there and a key part of their society. It's like bowing in Japan: you can think it's stupid but if you don't do it, you'll insult people. Not preferring to shake hands because of let's say hygiene is one thing and not wanting to do it because you think less of women is another.
 

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If that's the way their tradition works then it should be obeyed by, regardless of religion.

I can see some seeing this as some form of Islamaphobia but I see it as quite the opposite, I see it as a show of respect whatever religion they are.
 

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What is there to be achieved from shaking another person's hand otherwise from the showing of respect which could be shown in other ways. I believe it's ludicrous to seek to force someone to carry out this act against their will. There are people who may not subscribe to other things because of their religion or dislike, one thing that comes to mind is pork. Would it be reasonable to force them to eat this meat against their will? I can't blame these Muslims if they should believe that they are been victimised because of their religious stance
 

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This is sheer stupidity. I've studied for like 16 years of my life and I can count the number of times I shook hands with my teachers. It's not a school policy to shake a teacher's hand unless you're walking up the stage and getting your award, then it'd be rude not to shake the hand of the teacher giving you the award because that's the common thing to do.
 

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This is the first I've heard of the issue, which is kind of surprising, based on what I usually see and read. I can see both sides of the issue. I think they probably are afraid if they let this slide then more and more exceptions will be expected, and I can understand they aren't willing to do that. It seems that's how major issues start, with small ones and exceptions being made for one person or group of people, then others want exceptions of their own. As with the mention of bowing, I've never bowed to anyone, but I would if I was in a country where it's customary, and to not do so would be to insult the person.
 

identityissues8

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No one should be made to make physical contact with anyone - especially if for whatever reason it makes them feel uncomfortable. This fine is absolutely as ludacris now as when I first heard about it a number of weeks ago (thinking and hoping it was some stupid myth people were putting out there as a scare tactic. I should be so lucky hey?)

I agree with all of the comments above saying that there are a glut of other ways to show respect, but I just don't see how handshaking is even an inherent form of respect. It's a social norm, when someone offers their hand we feel compelled to take it, whether we respect that person or not. Respect is your general demeanor towards the individual and frankly so much reading goes into handshakes these days (how firm, eye contact, etc.) that they've almost made it a science, and judge people accordingly.
I know I'm a Muslim so wouldn't shake a woman's hand anyway, but given all the implications and the way people try and read and over-analyse handshakes, I'm not entirely comfortable shaking a dudes hand either.

In all, this kid didn't wanna shake the ladies hand for religious reasons, I fail to see disrespect in that. Why can't she be accommodating and respect his right to free religion? I mean, if the West is going to call itself a beacon of freedom for all, it needs to start living up to that.
 

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Weird rule.
Actually I do not recall I have ever had hand shake with any of my teachers over the years. Since when a hand shake has become a forced act? Yes, it is a matter of manner and the showing of politeness, but it should not be forced with fines!

In some countries, especially in Asia, teachers are held in such high regard, that I doubt any of them would be shaking the hands of their "lowly" students. Yet if a student somehow got a hold of their hand and shake it, I doubt a fine would be applied.

It is just stupid.
 

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I see this as a very simple problem if problem at all. In my country we used to stand up and say good morning to a teacher. That was in primary school and sometimes in high school but not really. :) Anyway, if you came to live in a country and that country gave you a new life, a job, a better future, etc., it is just normal to have respect to some of the customs and things that they do. Even if your life there is not as good you should respect some rules. For this particular example it is just a matter of manners. I believe that they refuse to shake hands because of the religion. Well, I am sorry but some things have to be adjusted and you have to make an exception. It is not the only religion around and it would not be the first time a rule was broken and exception was made. More over, this is very good for the development of basic manners for a child in early age. I really do not see a problem. What should they do? Change their customs? It is their country and those people that are making this a problem were given freedom to practice their religion freely and this little exception will not change a thing.
 

ally79

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Isn't it strange how differently courts in other countries react? If this had been the US every Muslim support group would have been calling for the removal of the teacher, the principal, and who knows who else and the family would have been given money instead of being fined. I say good for the Swiss! They expect people who come to their country to assimilate to their way of life which is as it should be.
 

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Isn't it strange how differently courts in other countries react? If this had been the US every Muslim support group would have been calling for the removal of the teacher, the principal, and who knows who else and the family would have been given money instead of being fined. I say good for the Swiss! They expect people who come to their country to assimilate to their way of life which is as it should be.
What made you think that all muslims living in Switzerland are emigrants and not of a Swiss origin? Forcing people against their will is a violation of human rights. We in the UAE don't force people to abide by the Islamic law despite being Islamic country and proud of our Islamic way of life. Tolerance is needed!
 

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