Muslim Police Officer Faces Disciplinary Action After Refusing to Shake Hands With Woman
A Muslim police officer is facing disciplinary action in Germany after refusing to shake a female colleague’s hand.
The officer refused his co-worker’s offer of a handshake when she attempted to congratulate him on a promotion he had received, the Rheinische Postreports.
Religious reasons were given by the officer from Rhineland-Pfalz, as his explanation for refusing to accept his female workmate’s friendly gesture during a party at the Montabaur police station at the end of May.
“The police officer explained his behaviour by way of his religious conviction,” said Steffen Wehner, the press spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior, on Friday, July 21.
Wehner explained that the police officer has been transferred to office duty as his refusal of a handshake violates the principle of neutrality and principle of temperance for officers.
In a similar case in Sweden earlier this year, the police announced their support for a Muslim man hired as a passport control officer, when he refused to shake the hands of women. In a statement given, the Swedish police sided with the man because they ‘embrace diversity.’ The Muslim passport control officer said he had been the victim of discrimination by the women and other colleagues who had complained about him.
Last year a school in Switzerland allowed Muslim pupils not to shake hands with teachers, introducing the special rule because some Muslims boys had refused to shake hands with women they didn’t know.
But Julia Klockner, a senior member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union [CDU], said in 2015 that it is immigrants who need to adapt to the German way of life and not the other way around, after an Imam refused to shake her hand at a refugee camp.
In her four-point model, she emphasised that immigrants must be loyal to the German constitution and religion cannot override Germany’s basic law.
“There are some positions in Germany, which are non-negotiable,” she stated.
A disciplinary investigation will now determine to what extent civil service law provisions were violated and whether your religious beliefs can have an influence on your service.
While the police headquarters can decide on lesser sanctions and reduction of salary, further sanctions such as revocation of rank or dismissal would have to be decided by an administrative court.