A Muslim student in Switzerland who refused to shake hands with his teacher because he felt it was prohibited by Shariah law will be forced to do so anyway, according to the U.K. Express.
If he refuses, he and his family could reportedly face fines of over $5,000.
Amer Salhani, a student in Basel, had originally said that Muslim law prohibited him from taking part in the Swiss tradition of shaking hands with teachers. According to him and his family, the longstanding tradition violated Shariah by forcing him to shake hands with women who were not family members.
The school in Basel originally caved to the pressure and agreed to exempt Salhani and his older brother, but a backlash ensued. After many citizens complained that Salhani’s request was an insult to Swiss culture, Basel authorities reversed the decision and said that Salhani must comply with the tradition.
Salhani’s brother left the school at the end of last year.
“The public interest with respect to equality between men and women and the integration of foreigners significantly outweighs the freedom of conscience of the students,” Basel authorities said in their decision last week.
“Shaking hands with teachers is deeply rooted in our society and culture,” said Monica Gschwind, head of Basel’s education department. “For me it is clear: The handshake is enforced — no ifs, no buts.”
Salhani’s parents still have the option of a further appeal to the city’s education authorities, although it was not immediately clear whether they would do so.
If such a thing happened in this country, there would be massive calls of Islamophobia.
In Switzerland, though, they made it clear that their cultural traditions were sacrosanct and will not bend for political correctness.