The controversy continues. Last week, two muslim pupils at a secondary school in Basel refused to shake their teacher’s hand. On Sunday, the Swiss broadcaster RTS, revealed a similar case at a school in Geneva.
The incident occurred at the beginning of 2015 during a gym class. The teenager, who had recently converted to Islam, refused to let his female teacher correct his posture during an exercise. According to RTS, the teacher reported the incident to the school’s management, who summoned the pupil and contacted his parents. As happened in Basel, the young muslim was allowed to continue attending classes, while avoiding all contact with the teacher and the girls in his class.
When interviewed by the press, the two students involved in the Basel incident, insisted that requiring pupils to shake hands with teachers is discriminatory. “No one can force us to touch hands”, said one of them. The older one said “I learnt this rule watching a preacher on the internet. My father then confirmed it.” They explained that their intention was not to be provocative. It was part of following their faith. In addition, they reject the involvement of Switzerland’s central islamic council and that of their father, an imam. “No one tells us what to do”, said one of the two brothers.
According to the newspaper, Schweiz am Sonntag, a similar incident took place at another school in Basel, except on this occasion two girls refused to shake hands with their male teachers. The girls’ father goes to the same mosque as the two brothers.