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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

‘Anti-Muslim Denmark’: Handshake made mandatory for citizenship

News Desk |

In the new citizenship bill, the government of Denmark has made it compulsory for applicants to shake hands with the officials conducting the naturalization ceremony. The new proposed bill has been backed by the majority of the Danish parliament.

Ever since the passage of the bill the Muslim immigrants have been staging protests against the new condition for acquiring citizenship of Denmark. The proponents of the bill have cited the logic of increasing the assimilation of the immigrants into the Dutch nationals. It requires those applying for Danish citizenship to commit to the country’s values and to show respect for its government by shaking hands with its representative.

The mayor of the town of Kerteminde in central Denmark has gone so far as to imply that he would rather not show up at work than coerce an applicant to shake his hand.

The bill has been subjected to heated debate for being discriminatory towards Muslims. The critics have argued that the new bill is a repressive attempt to discourage Muslim from seeking the nationality, calling the proposal an unnecessary formality.

The Danish three-party government proposed the bill while Conservative Party and anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party have been the driving force behind the bill. Denmark is looking to follow the suit of authorities in Switzerland and France who deny the citizenship to immigrants– refusing to shake a hand– citing the reason of ‘lack of assimilation’.

“If you arrive in Denmark, where it’s custom to shake hands when you greet if you don’t do it, it’s disrespectful,” said Martin Henriksen, a lawmaker who has been critical of Islam and is the right-wing Danish People’s Party spokesperson on immigration. “If one can’t do something that simple and straightforward, there’s no reason to become a Danish citizen.”

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The country’s integration minister Inger Stojberg, on her Facebook account, wrote that a handshake was a “visible sign that you’ve taken Denmark to heart.”

Some Muslim and Jewish group prohibits their people to shake hand with the opposite gender outside their immediate families. The new law also prohibits the wearing of gloves while shaking hand.


The Muslim women have been under constant pressure to shun wearing the veil and covering faces at public places as it contradicts the secular and cultural values of Denmark and discourages their integration in the society.

Danish Parliament earlier this year prohibited the wearing of face veils in public, which researchers say only 200 Muslim women practice in Denmark according to an international news agency. Surprisingly, the bill is facing strong opposition from the local officials who conduct such proceedings.

Read more: Canada enters the age of “Hijab Phobia”

Some mayors have already said they will ignore the new guidelines. The mayor of the town of Kerteminde in central Denmark has gone so far as to imply that he would rather not show up at work than coerce an applicant to shake his hand.

“Shaking hands does not show if you are integrated or not. I think I will probably find an excuse and the deputy mayor will come to work that day,” said one official to the international media outlet.