No matter how ridiculous it must sound Muslim students are probably the happiest side of this conflict. They don’t have to shake female hands anymore. The whole country is still buzzing about this decision.
Switzerland is one of the very tolerant and democratic countries where they respect all the religious rules of the minority that lives on their territory. No matter, if it is a big trouble or small one. Muslim students in Therwil School, at Basel canton, asked the principle to relieve them from the traditional Swedish custom, to shake hands with teachers in respect.
Students are young, 14 and 15 years old, but already very conscious about their religion. If there will be a female teacher, they will not be able to shake her hand.
Their main argument is the rule in Islam that does not allow touching opposite sex, except close family members.
The council in Therwil does not agree with the decision of school. However, they will not interrupt in the school life. According to Monika Wyss, the spokeswoman from the council, they do not want to change the school rules.
After the principle agreed with Muslim students, the whole country began to speak about it. It became more important, as shaking hands – is the old tradition and a part of Swiss culture. Simonetta Sommaruga, the Justice Minister, noticed that this tradition is very important.
Basel authorities did not answer immediately on new protests, this time from Swiss. However, as Monica Gschwind, the education head of Basel canton, noticed, this decision was mostly pragmatic solution of the problem.
The tradition of shaking hands with a teacher is a gesture of respect. Christoph Eymann, the head of the Swiss Conference in Education says that women must be treated equally as men.