A German court has ruled that a Muslim doctor, who arrived in Germany in 2002, should not be granted citizenship after he refused to shake hands with the woman presenting him with his naturalisation certificate.
The 40-year-old Lebanese doctor refused to shake the hands of women for religious reasons. Report says he was on the brink of becoming a German after living in the country for 13 years.
The court in Baden-Württemburg ruled that those refusing to shake hands with women due to a “fundamentalist conception of culture and values”
that view women as “a danger of sexual temptation” were rejecting “integration into German living conditions.”
He had completed his medical studies and passed a citizenship test with the highest possible mark.
At the last stage of the process for citizenship acquisition, the man refused to shake the hand of the female official at the ceremony in 2015, also because he had promised his wife not to shake hands with another woman.
This made state officials to withhold the certificate and reject the application.
His petition against the ruling was unsuccessful before the Stuttgart Administrative Court and he appealed to the VGH. Following its decision Saturday, the court said that the man can appeal to the Federal Administrative Court due to the fundamental significance of the case.
The VGH described a handshake as a common nonverbal greeting and farewell ritual, which are independent of the sex of the involved parties, adding that the practise goes back centuries.
The judge found that the handshake also has a legal meaning, in that it symbolizes the conclusion of a contract and that it is deeply rooted in social, cultural and legal life, which shapes the way German live together.
The court found that anyone who refuses to shake hands on gender-specific grounds is in breach of the equality enshrined in the German constitution.