To force Muslims to assimilate, Denmark requires all to shake hands in citizenship ceremonies
In a direct move to target Muslims, Denmark’s right-wing Parliament passed a law requiring all individuals in naturalization ceremonies to shake hands with the official dignitary. Many conservative Muslims refuse to shake hands with people of a different sex on religious grounds.The law also includes a clause that deliberately prohibits the wearing of gloves, and will be enacted on January 1st, 2019.The New York Times reports Martin Henriksen, a right-wing lawmaker and Danish People’s Party’s spokesman, justified the law by stating, “If you arrive in Denmark, where it’s custom to shake hands when you greet, if you don’t do it it’s disrespectful. If one can’t do something that simple and straightforward, there’s no reason to become a Danish citizen.”
This is not the first time Denmark has cited a “lack of assimilation” for passing anti-Muslim policies. Earlier this year, Denmark passed a Burqa ban, targeting the only 200 conservative Muslim women who wear it in the county.
While many Danish mayors call the law “purely symbolic” and unnecessary, other European countries have a growing anti-Muslim right-wing coalition calling for similar “reforms on Islam.”
As many refugees migrate to Europe, anti-immigrant laws are surging. The Danish Parliament approved a project to isolate and place certain migrants on a separate, small island. Police are also allowed to take migrants’ valuables as payment for their stay.
“It’s against my ideology and conviction to have to force other people to have body contact,” said Thomas Andresen, the mayor of Aabenraa. Andresen says to counteract the law, his city will have officials of different genders to preside over the ceremonies.
Billy O’Shea, an Irish translator in Denmark, told the New York Times via email, “Respect is not something you in a democratic country, can demand by threats. Respect is something that occurs between equal citizens. We can’t shake each other’s hands if one of us are on our knees.”