It is an interesting clash, isn’t it?

Switzerland has suspended the citizenship process for the family of two teenage Muslim brothers after the boys’ refusal to shake hands with their female teachers sparked a national debate over religious freedoms.

The brothers, aged 14 and 15, had informed education officials in the northern municipality of Therwil that physical contact with women who are not family members violated their faith.

They were then exempted from a Swiss custom of pupils shaking teachers’ hands, with Therwil officials instructing them to avoid contact with male teachers as well to avoid gender discrimination.

But the compromise sparked a heated response from leading Swiss politicians including the justice minister, Simonetta Sommaruga, who insisted that “shaking hands is part of [Swiss] culture”.

I’m on the side of the young lads here I think. yes, the host culture has the right to impose all sorts of behaviour on those it accepts. And yet I cannot see that a liberal society (not that Switzerland is one in many senses) has the right to insist that you shake your schoolteacher by the hand. Society can impose any societal punishment it wishes (look at those damn weirdos! Wouldn’t shake hands with those who taught them all those years!) but law and the government?

The defining line comes down to, I guess, that the law can only impose restrictions upon the freedoms of the individual where and when not doing so impinges on the freedoms of other individuals. So, for example, law can and should insist that the sworn evidence of man and woman, girl and boy, is of equal value. And you also get to shake hands or not with anyone you damn well like.

42 thoughts on “It is an interesting clash, isn’t it?”

  1. Surely its the reasoning behind their refusal which is the bone of contention. Frankly, after the last 18 months of supine tolerance on the continent, its a breath of fresh air to see a European nation grow a pair.

  2. I agree that governments should not mandate who shakes hands with whom, and what people wear (whether that is a woman who wants to cover herself from head to foot, or ramblers who want to walk in nature without benefit of clothes).

    However, it is perhaps indicative of a person who does not wish to integrate, as they only refuse to shake hands with women, and gender equality is pretty much part of the culture now.

    In the same way, wearing a T-shirt which says ‘Fvck Switzerland and all it stands for’ should not be illegal, but if someone turned up for a citizenship interview wearing it, it might be reasonable to ask if the applicant was really serious about respect for Swiss law in general, and could be grounds, when taken with other indications, of someone who should be refused citizenship.

  3. Don’t think of it as Switzerland trampling on religious freedoms. Think of it as Switzerland recognising the folly of allowing an invasion force cover for their plans.

  4. It’s not of course that they won’t shake a hand, it’s what it says about them as people. And the immigration process is about sorting out if they’re good, valuable people to have in. When you’re a citizen, you have rights. You’re free to do this. They’re free to do this now. But it does affect the “go/no go” decision on allowing them in. The Swiss would rather have modern, forward-looking productive people.

  5. The requirement that pupils shake hands with teachers isn’t enshrined in law, is it? It’s customary. And thus consensual. And I don’t imagine a Swiss citizen would suffer legal sanctions for failing to consent.
    So what’s your problem here?
    The brothers are failing to consent to something the majority of Swiss citizens consent to. So doubt is cast on whether the Swiss want them as citizens. You seem to be suggesting the law should be used to compel the Swiss to do something they don’t wish to do.

  6. When you’re picking players for your football team, you pick the fittest, best players that you can afford. If one player breaks a leg, you nurse him back to health and train him back up again. But you wouldn’t recruit a player with a broken leg in the first place.

    When one of your existing citizens starts playing silly buggers and refusing to shake a woman’s hand, you might gently try to persuade him that it’s sexist and not very nice. But if he wasn’t already a member, there’s no way you’d grant him entry to the club in the first place.

  7. The problem isn’t the refusal to shake their teacher’s hand – obviously this shouldn’t be a matter of law. But when processing a citizenship application the State should have far more freedom around who they welcome as citizens and who they don’t. And at this point you look at whether their behaviour shows that they would fit into and, more importantly, integrate into the country. Not shaking their teacher’s hand on account of her sex would suggest that they would not fit into a society where shaking a woman’s hand was the norm, and that they don’t intend to integrate into that society.

  8. So Much For Subtlety

    It is that they are simply not brave enough to say the obvious – we have let a cancer into European society. It is killing us.

    We all know it is true but thanks to people like Rusty and BiG we can’t say it. So they have found a proxy. It matters not one bit whether these boys shake hands or not. I doubt that anyone would care if Orthodox Jews likewise refused. It is just a stalking horse for the obvious but unsayable – we don’t want and don’t need a single Muslim in Europe.

  9. I agree that it is their attitude towards the culture they allegedly want to integrate which is the crux of the issue. They want to import and impose on others their own backwardness, which has created the shit holes they want to escape from. The lack of introspection from these people just amazes me.

  10. The commenters are right. They are free to shake hands or not. And we are free to note that they do not refuse to shake because of, say, a germ phobia problem. They do not shake because they value RoP “morality” over other values. Fine. I would deport both of them back to their point of origin and they can be as Islamic as they like over there.

  11. If a Swiss kid refused to shake female teachers’ hands, there would be hell to pay. Seriously. The parents would be dragged in for an interview w/o coffee.

    Legal sanctions, no, but sanctions nonetheless.

    Accepting Swiss norms and customs is a big part of the naturalisation process – and something they take very seriously.

  12. Mr Ecks has it right.

    This is about two-way freedom. The children have the right to consider women somehow ‘unclean’, and Switzerland has the right to refuse to accept them as citizens.

    It’s a bit like the old General Napier quote.

  13. Their club, their rules.

    Maybe Switzerland has realised that a liberal culture which imports large numbers of illiberal fanatics doesn’t stay liberal for too long.

  14. The brothers, aged 14 and 15, had informed education officials in the northern municipality of Therwil that physical contact with women who are not family members violated their faith.

    Translation: We refuse to acknowledge the kuffir, particularly female kuffir who are chattel.

    The whole point of moving to another country is to better your life for yourself and your family. Part of that move is to integrate into the societal customs whether you agree with them or not. If you don’t agree with them, why move there in the first place?

    Want to hide behind your medieval religion as an excuse to enjoy the benefits of your new host country but exclude yourself from the host country’s polite way of integration, then here’s your bus ticket back to Shitholistan.

  15. So Much For Subtlety

    Switzerland has a Lubbavitch community:

    http://www.chabadswitzerland.com/

    I am willing to bet they don’t shake hands either. Nor should they be forced to. But they aren’t trying to kill us. This issue is not about shaking hands. It is about our rulers being determined to import Third World rapists and terrorists. Because they hate us.

  16. @SMFS,

    Maybe if you listened to people, rather than the black-and-white straw men in your head, you’d understand more and rub along better with those who don’t agree with you on everything. If you think I’m in favour of further Islamic immigration (to anywhere except to that vast area from Morocco to Malaysia where Islam is already dominant), you’re clearly hard of reading.

  17. I had a Muslim colleague who wouldn’t shake hands with women (nor socialise with them and other non-business stuff). If I was at a meeting with him it made me uncomfortable.. but that was my problem, not his. I don’t know how the women felt… but they were usually public sector types.. so undoubtedly well trained.

  18. The Meissen Bison

    How many commenters here have been banned from Murphy’s site?

    The similarity with this case ends with his perfect right to exclude whom he wishes. The difference, of course, is that he ends up as host to a claque of sycophants and nutters.

  19. “I had a Muslim colleague who wouldn’t shake hands with women (nor socialise with them and other non-business stuff). If I was at a meeting with him it made me uncomfortable.. but that was my problem, not his.”
    No.
    It’s your turf, not his. His problem, not yours. He’s making it your problem & others around him.
    The consent of the vast majority is, women are treated as equals. He’s got a problem with this, it’s his problem. Doesn’t like it, go live elsewhere.

  20. What Bloke in Germany said.

    SMFS is a clown without the brains to process what people are actually saying.

    I’m afraid Tim tolerance, “live and let live” etc, whilst being the only way society can rub along, only applies to hose actually in the society. For those already in the society there is no ‘Swiss way’, or ‘English way’ for that matter. For those applying to get in it is quite different. For those people it is “our gaf; our rules”. Don’t want to shake hands with women teachers? Then fuck off and get an education in Tehran.

  21. I was going to say something but all the comments above are so sensible that I could not possibly add anything of value.

  22. Frankly, as a former resident a long time ago of Zurich, irrespective of any hand-shaking requirements, wild horses would not persuade me to apply for Swiss citizenship. Things might have changed these days, but in my experience a more backward culture it would be hard to find, although in many respects Germany would run it close.

    I mean, anywhere that does not allow you to mow your lawn or do some grocery shopping on a Saturday afternoon, probably belongs in the cultural arc of one of he Shitstans anyway

  23. I don’t know how the women felt… but they were usually public sector types.. so undoubtedly well trained.

    Terrified, I expect. By the white English bloke at the end of the table.

  24. @”BraveFart
    April 20, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Frankly, as a former resident a long time ago of Zurich, irrespective of any hand-shaking requirements, wild horses would not persuade me to apply for Swiss citizenship. Things might have changed these days, but in my experience a more backward culture it would be hard to find, although in many respects Germany would run it close.”
    If their immigration controls are so much stronger than ours, then in a few years they will be a lot more advanced.
    If I had to chose between shopping Saturday afternoon or having Islamic terror I know which I would prefer.

  25. BraveFart

    I thought I loved Switzerland. I still do like Zurich. But then I went to Austria realised how odd the Swiss are.

  26. The Thought Gang: “I had a Muslim colleague who wouldn’t shake hands with women (nor socialise with them and other non-business stuff). If I was at a meeting with him it made me uncomfortable.. but that was my problem, not his. “

    Would you feel the same way about a white man who refused to shake hands or socialise with ‘a dirty wog’?

    Or would you leap into battle, your Sword of Righteousness shining, your Shield of Virtue Signalling raised, hmm…?

  27. @James in NZ
    This is where I profoundly disagree with TimW on things like this.
    As I see it, these people don’t have any legal rights in Switzerland. Citizenship is what gives you legal rights. So they have no more legal rights in Switzerland than any of the people, back in the country they came from. Swiss law may impose obligations on the Swiss on how they treat non-citizens. But that’s a whole other thing. A purely Swiss matter.
    So, absent any legal compulsion to grant citizenship, it’s rightfully arbitrary. Why bureaucrats get paid, as opposed to judges. To exercise choice on behalf of the citizen.

  28. It should be very simple. They are applying to live in a country that is not their own. They are welcome to have any beliefs and customs they like, however if they are at odds with their new nation, they should be dragged to the border and pushed over it at the point of a bayonet. Why on earth are liberal nations expected to tolerate the stone age customs of these barbarians? Don’t tell me that they are otherwise fine upstanding young men. This is only the visible tip of the iceberg of their hostility to the rest of the country.

  29. Various comments on here seem to be cheering the Swiss on for their robust approach to immigration but in fact what we are talking about here is questions of naturalisation/citizenship. Suspect many posters would be disappointed if they saw how “diverse” (insert term of choice) CHF has become, and trends show it is becoming more so.

    What’s happening in fact is a situation similar to the Gulf States – huge numbers of migrants from elsewhere, plus their growing numbers of kids, largely cut off from local culture, disenfranchised, and with substantial hurdles to full citizenship even though they’re not about to be kicked out either. It looks like a pretty toxic mix to me – sure, cut down on the naturalisation route if you want to close yourself off, but if you don’t also cut down on the inflow of people itself, you’re building up the pressure in a bottle. Excluding people from citizenship because they don’t shake hands, or have foreign looking faces/names so don’t pass a local referendum on “should these people be approved”, is hypocritical if you’re still inviting these folk to stay but don’t intend for them to acquire citizenship / full legal right. Hypocritical and eventually bloody stupid.

    (Germany used to have a problem where third-generation German-born Turks didn’t had no citizenship because grandad was a “guest worker” – can live there but not be a German. Ultimately this wasn’t especially conducive to getting the German Turks to integrate. What is happening right now Switzerland is like that, but on steroids.)

  30. “if you’re still inviting these folk to stay but don’t intend for them to acquire citizenship / full legal right. Hypocritical and eventually bloody stupid.”
    Well yes. It is.
    But who’s doing the inviting?
    Sounds very familiar.
    There’s a subset of the population – politicians, business, bleeding heart liberals, you choose – want them in the country for their own purposes. But they can’t swing it with the rest of the population to hand out full citizenship on arrival. So they do it anyway & leave Fred & Freda Suisse with the mess.
    Germany, France, Sweden, UK…

  31. @MBE,

    The Turkish/German thing is often painted as Germany being nasty to Turks. The actual situation is that Germany assigns citizenship by descent not place of birth (as the UK now does), and allows only limited recognition of dual nationality (why many of us Brits are scrambling to get our applications in before the referendum).

    As a result, those born to Turkish citizens in Germany are also Turkish citizens. However, having reached adulthood they will almost all qualify for German citizenship on the residency basis (excluding a few bad eggs and Kafkaesque situations). As Germany does not recognise dual nationality with Turkey, they have to renounce their Turkish citizenship. Which they can most certainly do, provided they have finished their military service, or bought themselves out.

    Germany (which had military service itself until very recently) did (does) not recognise the obligation to perform military service as a burden so onerous that they will relax the no-dual-citizenship rule (dual nationality is allowed only for the EU, Switzerland, andcountries that place excessive roadblocks to the renunciation of citizenship), so lots of Turks are stuck with having to do the service if they want to become German.

  32. Slippery slope stuff.

    Today they refuse to shake hands with their lady teacher; tomorrow they refuse to serve customers with alcohol even though they knew it was part of the job; the day after tomorrow, Swiss churches aren’t allowed to ring their bells if they’re within earshot of the mosque, or maybe at all. And so on.

    I’m with the Swiss on this.

    When does OUR fightback start?

  33. @Andrew Duffin and others – the key is, as you say, to not allow these primitives in the country. However, there is no attempt to enforce our borders and no protest about them.

    UKIP bang on about Polish plumbers, who share our religion and European culture and who are most likely to be expats not immigrants, but there are more net migrants to the UK from outside the EU than within. The bulk of these are from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Muslim sub-Saharan Africa. ie peasants from shitholes who will add nothing.

  34. I was amused to see the Greens described in that article as “centre-left”. If they are anything like their UK equivalent, they are very Left, even hard Left. The fucking Liberal Democrats are “centre-left”.

  35. I wonder how much education these boys are going to get from teachers they so ostentatiously disrespect.

  36. So Much For Subtlety

    Ironman – “What Bloke in Germany said. SMFS is a clown without the brains to process what people are actually saying.”

    And yet I have the brains to notice I did not accuse BiG of what he claims I did. I did not say he supported more Muslim immigration, although, obviously, he does. I said that thanks to the self-righteous hysteria of people like you both, we are not allowed to talk about it.

    But it is nice you have one friend here Rusty. Sweet in its way.

    “Don’t want to shake hands with women teachers? Then fuck off and get an education in Tehran.”

    Isn’t that, you know, a little racist? Aren’t you the person who was loudly denouncing everyone else for saying this just a few short months ago? Yes, I believe you were. You were insisting that this sort of thing was racist because, I am not sure – “Muslims” are mostly brown-ish so any criticism of Islam is a criticism on racial grounds? That was your position up to about the day before yesterday, right?

    Yet again, Orthodox Jews won’t shake hands with strange women either. Care to denounce them as un-European too?

  37. [quote]Would you feel the same way about a white man who refused to shake hands or socialise with ‘a dirty wog’?[/quote]

    To clarify, my point was really that my discomfort was my problem. Just like if he was uncomfortable by everyone else happily shaking hands (he never let on) then that was his problem.

    You ask a fair question though. And I would not be ok with that. Just like I wasn’t ok with this. Would I just accept it (or, as I did, just decide it wasn’t my business)? I don’t know. As much as I have no time for bigotry backed up by religion, I do see it as distinct from the standard stuff. If the only thing that the bigotry does is make people have hurt feels then I’m not getting involved. If someone doesn’t want to shake hands with black people then that’s their business. Just like if they don’t want to make gay cakes.

    If a non-handshook black/female person responded with ‘Well if you won’t shake my hand then I won’t sit and listen to your sales pitch’ then I’d think that a totally valid response.

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