Home / Multiculturalism / Islam / In Swiss Schools, Students Shake Teachers’ Hands Out of Respect; Muslims are Now Exempt

In Swiss Schools, Students Shake Teachers’ Hands Out of Respect; Muslims are Now Exempt

A nationwide debate was sparked in Switzerland after two male Muslim students were exempted from shaking the hands of their female teachers in a small school district where this show of respect has always been a tradition.  According to SwissInfo.ch, it’s regularly practiced that teachers and students share in a handshake at the start and end of class out of mutual respect. But two male Muslim students complained that Islam dictates they refrain from touching someone of the opposite sex except for family members. Instead of telling the students they needed to follow the same rules as all other students, the school caved to their demands.  Members of the community were joined by many across Switzerland in decrying the school’s decision, saying that male and female teachers should not be treated differently in a learning environment.  So the school made another decision: they decided the two Muslim students didn’t have to shake any teacher’s hand.  “They are no longer allowed to shake the hand of any teacher, male or female. For us, that addresses the question of discrimination,” a statement read.  The teachers’ union wasn’t pleased and argued, “The same rules should apply to all students.” In addition, the union said teaching children to shake hands with people from all walks of life at an early age prepares them to properly address the men and women they will surely meet in their future lives.  Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said the tradition of teachers and students shaking hands “belongs to our culture.”  The report states that “conservative Muslims” are arguing that not touching a woman is “a sign of respect.” But that’s not how a Swiss-Yemeni professor at the University of Zuric sees it. Elham Manea said:

It has nothing to do with respect. It has to do with a worldview that sees women as sexual objects.

[3] School defends exempting Muslim students from handshake, SwissInfo, APR 4, 2016 – 19:49
[4] Rosie Scammell, Muslim students’ handshake refusal irks Swiss, USA Today, 10:53 a.m. EDT April 6, 2016
[6] Jessica Hartogs, Switzerland split over Muslim students’ handshake request, CNBC.com, Tuesday, 5 Apr 2016 | 6:53 AM ET
[10] ROBERT SPENCER, Swiss school exempts Muslim boys from shaking hands with female teachers, Jihad Watch, APRIL 6, 2016 11:42 PM
[12] Jamey Keaten, Swiss weigh Muslims’ refusal to shake female teachers’ hands, MetroNews.ca, APRIL 6, 2016
[14] Swiss Muslim Students Exempt From Shaking Hands with Female Teachers, News Max, Wednesday, 06 Apr 2016 11:38 AM
[19] CHRIS TOMLINSON, Outrage Over Muslim School-Children Refusing To Shake Hands, Breitbart, 6 Apr 2016
[20] JACOB BOJESSON, Swiss Muslim Students Exempt From Shaking Hands With Female Teachers, Daily Caller, 1:27 PM 04/05/2016


About Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace is a self-fashioned writter, a computer programmer and cybermarketer from Quebec City, Canada who decided to enter the political arena after his disillusionment with the socialist system under which he was living in the French Canadian province of Quebec.

Leave a Reply