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Tuesday Oct 20 2020
Web Desk

Muslim doctor who refused to shake woman's hand denied German citizenship

Web Desk

A Muslim man who refused to shake a woman's hand has been denied citizenship of Germany, foreign media reported on Monday.

The 39-year-old Lebanese national was about to become a German citizen after living in the country for 13 years and passing a citizenship test with the highest possible mark. He had completed his medical studies as well.

However, his problems began when the Muslim doctor refused to shake a female official's hand at the ceremony in 2015. The move led state authorities to deny him citizenship of the country.

A court, five years later, backed authorities' decision in this regard, saying that the man's "fundamentalist views" were not in line with his integration into German society.

The man had been living in Germany since 2002 and had married a woman of Syrian origin 10 years ago. He had completed all his paperwork and for citizenship of the country and vowed to uphold the German constitution and reject extremism.

However, the court hearing his case in Mannheim ruled that the "handshake incident" makes his integration into the German society difficult.

"If the applicant refuses to shake hands for gender-specific reasons which are incompatible with the constitution, there is no integration into German living conditions," said the court.

"This applies in particular if the refusal to shake hands with the opposite sex," said the court.

The court said that the man's refusal to shake hands with the woman stemmed from his belief that women posed a danger of sexual temptation. 

The Muslim doctor has reportedly stopped shaking hands since the beginning of 2018 but the court said it was a "tactical" step on his part to obtain citizenship. The court said the act of shaking hands was deep-rooted into Western society.

"Handshakes are common greeting and farewell rituals that take place regardless of the social status, gender or other personal characteristics of the people involved and go back centuries," said the judges.

The man can now appeal the decision to a federal court.