Muslim teacher refuses to shake hands with men
8 September 2006, AMSTERDAM — A female Muslim teacher has been suspended by a school in Utrecht for refusing to shake hands with men.
8 September 2006
AMSTERDAM — A female Muslim teacher has been suspended by a school in Utrecht for refusing to shake hands with men.
The management at Vader Rijn College asked the Equality Commission to examine the case to confirm whether it had acted correctly. The school teaches pre-vocational secondary education (VMBO).
Newspaper 'AD' broke the story on Friday that the woman, who is not native Dutch, has been asked to stay at home after she decided on religious grounds not to shake hands with men ever again. The school feels this is unacceptable
School director Bart Engbers said the woman's decision had come as a total surprise. She has worked for a little over a year at the school and her objection to shaking hands with men comes at the start of the new school year.
"If she doesn't want to shake hands at home, fine. But everyone is welcome at this school. Discussion is great, but religious and political flag-waving must stay at home," Engbers said.
He said teachers had to set a good example. "We are preparing our boys and girls for the labour market. We all know how fragile the situation is for allochtone (non native Dutch) young people. Therefore it is good that they shake hands during a job interview. We believe that is important."
Moreover, refusing to shake hands with men is discrimination, the director said.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news