No Handshake, No Citizenship, French Court Tells Algerian Woman


Newly naturalized French citizens during a ceremony in Nice in 2014. CreditEric Gaillard/Reuters.  The Muslim Times has the best articles promoting secularism in every country of the world

Source: New York Times

By Aurelien Breeden

PARIS — An Algerian woman’s refusal to shake hands with male officials at a French naturalization ceremony is sufficient grounds for denying her citizenship, France’s top administrative court has ruled.

In its decision — issued on April 11 but reported only this week — the court, known as the Council of State, said that the woman’s refusal “in a place and at a moment that are symbolic, reveals a lack of assimilation.”

The woman, who has not been identified, married a French citizen in Algeria in 2010 and filed for French citizenship five years later. At her naturalization ceremony in 2016 in Grenoble, in southeastern France, the woman refused to shake the hands of a local state official and of a local elected official, both male, citing her religious convictions.

The ruling did not specify the woman’s religion, and it did not identify her as Muslim. Some practicing Muslims believe Islam does not permit physical contact with a person of the opposite sex, with the exception of immediate family members.

After the woman refused to shake hands with the officials, she was denied citizenship.

The woman appealed, but the court ruled this past week that the decree was legal. The ruling was based on a law that gives the government two years after a foreign spouse files for naturalization to oppose the request, on grounds of “lack of assimilation, other than linguistic.” The court also ruled that the decision was not detrimental to her freedom of religion.

The court’s ruling has not garnered widespread attention within the country, but many recent debates in France on the place of Muslims in French society have focused on issues of gender relations and attitudes toward women.

Similar debates have played out elsewhere in Europe. In 2016, local authorities in Switzerland said two Muslim boys, both immigrants from Syria, could not refuse to shake their female teacher’s hand on religious grounds.

In the summer of 2016, France was roiled by debates over the burkini — full-body swimsuits that comply with Islamic modesty standards — after several Mediterranean coastal towns banned them on their beaches.

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19 replies

  1. Can that judge apply the same rules to a Jewish woman? They are also not allowed to shake hands with males. These people are born in immorality and want everyone to be like them.

  2. What do you expect from the so called civilised French? They learn to respect and tolerate those who are different. No one has any problem when: Jews keep beards and wear their traditional caps Christian priests and nuns wear their religious outfits Buddhist monks wear orange robes Sikhs keep beards and wear turbans Indian aunties wear Sarees (cross streets and hang out in Wal-Mart) Yeah but if any Muslim male keeps beard or if any Muslim girl wears hijab then everyone has problem. It’s Freedom when you go naked but it’s extremism when you wear hijab – just plain hypocrisy! Looking at the case of France, a major secular nation, I believe it is also not allowing women freedom by not letting her to wear her choice of clothing as it supposedly “clashes with French secular values”.

    Stop treating foreigners like garbage and they will stop ruining your precious country. Why did you let them in in the first place if you didn’t want them here? They left everything in their countries because of your promises. Are you so anxious to please that you can’t say “no”? The whole of French society needs diversity awareness course. Even all French MPs and civil servants who are the product of French education system which made them stupid, selfish and corrupt. They must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different. You have failed to respect and tolerate Black community, who speaks your language, share your culture and faith. English, Irish, Welsh and Scott hate each other, sharing the same culture, faith and language. It is difficult for you to accept, respect and tolerate Muslims with different culture, languages and FAITH. You have no choice but to accept them for your own survival. The number of Muslims is on the increase because of immigration, high birth rate and conversion. By the end of this century, nearly 50% of British population would be Muslim.

    Muslim community in all western countries need Masajid, state funded Muslim schools, Halal meat,sharia laws, two religious holidays per year, time off for Friday afternoon prayers in the Masjid and Muslim cemeteries. West must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different.

  3. Iftikhara , your comment is a little bit dangerous….!
    As I told before here, as usual if Muslim become majority they want to create Syariah law and impose their believe to citizen.
    Progressive Muslim reject to create syariah law in public. It is very dangerous for all Muslim who live not only Britain but all Europe.

    To avoid the backlash from Islamophobia to all Muslim, I urge all peaceful Muslim to reject the idea of the extremist ideology in Europe as whole. I do not want to see the horrible thing will happen to the Islamic community in Europe and other Christian countries years ahead.

    I believe The true Ahmadiyyah do not support that kind of terrible idea from Iftikra. It is dangerous if Islamophia read this article. As I know Ahmadiyyah promote peace, to Christian country.
    Muslim have to adapt the tradition where you live in.
    This is the true God law. You cannot go to other vountry who accept your faith like our prophet did.

    All love ❤️
    Progressive Muslim is against Syariah law at public place.

    • Ahmadiyya is for separation of religion and state. I think reading The Muslim Times this is clear. It has been stated many times.

  4. Somi, I personally am a woman who like my space and privacy and don’t like to be touched. I don’t like to shake hands with men I don’t know even in interviews and I have worked for the Government of Canada for almost 14 years. It’s personal and a respect thing and people should be able to comprehend that, aside from the religion. I disagree with shaking hands with men and I’m an educated and professional woman who belongs to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

  5. This issue is obviously not going away, because Muslims will not adapt to the new countries they want to inhabit, and they are expanding in numbers. In fact it is getting worse. Most other newcomers or those of other origins have adapted and I don’t notice them any more, regardless of colour. Go to shopping centres or markets, and it’s only Muslims who stand out as being different/alien. Yes, the hijab can look ‘pretty’ as Rafiq Tschannen mentioned recently, but a woman can look even more pretty without the hijab and the cloaks, which were also worn in the West a hundred and more years ago. And I certainly don’t approve of how many Westerners look/dress either, it’s a question of moderation. But I know that several decades ago many Muslim women were going the more liberal path in dress. Now they are either pressured from their families or more orthodox communities, some do it of their own free will, especially where they live in communities. There are whole large Asian communities, which are like being in a foreign country, where their inhabitants hardly speak the language of the host country, and the women often don’t even leave the locality, and therefore will never assimilate. Why make the shaking of hands such a big issue? It’s a tradition and courtesy in many countries, which can do no harm whatsoever to either parties. These comments apply also to some of the other communities, such as orthodox Jews, but they are far fewer in number therefore not so visible.

    • Integration is not a one way street. Both sides should try to understand each other. – The ‘parallel society’ point is a valid one. Looking at Pakistanis in London for instance few of them would have any non-Pakistani (origin) friends. This subject is worth ‘looking into’ …

      • There was a case in Jordan where a Iraqi refugee family did get asylum in France. In the end one family could not go because the French wanted to the photos should be taken without hijab. The lady replied that she would be happy to live in freedom in France, however, she was not willing to sacrifice her religion and culture for that ‘freedom’. The family is probably still in Jordan.

    • Let’s put it this way: Most Ahmadiyya ladies, like most other Muslims ladies, would prefer not to shake hands. What’s the point? Why should we force them if they do not like to? You always like to force others to do what you think is right. Pls. Give them their own freedom to choose !

      • Once upon a time, a long, long time ago I attended a function at the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul, Afghanistan. His Royal Highness the Uncle of the King also attended the party. As usual all male guests were sitting one side and all female guests were sitting at the other side, well, actually inside a reception hall of the Embassy. His Royal Highness after greeting all the men went inside to shake hands with the ladies. My wife was the only one that said ‘Excuse me’ to the King’s Uncle. The Ambassador was embarrassed and said that ‘look, he is like your grand-father’, but my wife thought as a Muslim His Royal Highness should understand her reluctance. And he did. No diplomatic ‘incident’ resulted from her not shaking hands with the Prince.

      • Yes, in the meantime, getting a bit fed-up with the uneducated people in the West, she does shake hands with a male, as she is tired of explaining and educating all of them. Is Somi happy now? And Renate?

      • From Rafiq comment It is very clear that Ahmadiyya still implement old Islamic interpretation such as:

        1. Ahmadiyyah male and female do not want to shake hand with opposite sex.

        2. Ahmadiyyah do not let women to sing at TV for public purpose

        3. Ahmadiyya female and male are segragated

        Unfortunately Ahmadiyya still follow the old tradition of Islam like Taliban—- not like Malala Yousafzai

        All love ❤️

    • Somi, I think this choice should be left to the the women instead of forcing them or coercing them into to aging hand with men they do do not know. It’s simple really. Give women some freedom to choose. It’s a liberal society, we live in the 21st century after all.

  6. Somi, how is giving a woman freedom related to what you’re talking about? I saying give the choice to women and you’re saying women are kept illiterate? How are they related? I don’t know how you can say that. You have to see. There are plenty of professional women, doctors, lawyers, teachers, astronauts……all women who choose not to shake hands with men who they do not know and these women are usually not home cooking, cleaning or taking care of kids or elderly not that there is anything wrong with that.

    • Again Somi, you reply is unrelated. I said give women the freedom to choose. This actually is a western value and tradition. The the women I spoke about in my comment who prefer no to shake hands with men do not know are actually not all Muslim, they all belong to differ faith and cultures.

    • wrong again. Just because your neighbor walks around half naked you do not need to do the same. A good neighbor respects when you adhere to your own values.

  7. Women who refused to shake hands with men are never behind in any field. Those great women are doctors, lawyers, engineers and serving in many other reputed fields and of course they are very successful.
    It is only some small and narrow minded people who make “not shaking hands” a GREAT issue and talk of the town.
    Grow up people.

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