Europe’s allergic reaction to Islam reaches new heights of the absurd. Other than being known as a haven where dubious characters stash their money in secret bank accounts, Switzerland has become increasingly racist and intolerant. In one region, the Swiss are forcing (via fines) Muslim students to shake the hand of their female teachers:
Besides the fact that I think the measure is exaggerated, it is also incredibly short-sighed. I don’t know what the Swiss people imagine they will achieve with this aggressive measure, but I’m pretty sure it won’t help them score any points towards successfully integrating their Muslim community.
It’s one thing to disallow the construction of minarets or wearing the burqa in public, and a completely different thing to force somebody to touch skins with another person. It’s at least one order of magnitude more serious. There is such a thing as consent. Remember those anti-rape campaigns that say “no means no”? I think it’s just mean to force Muslims to do something they don’t like in the name of some Western cultural norm.
I agree that our teachers should be respected (if they are good people). But respect can be shown through many other means than a hand shake. If the Muslim students do not respect their teacher, that is another story. The causes should be investigated separately. However, forcing them to act like they respect the person is childish and doomed to further alienate this demographic. The result could be disastrous, because we’ve all seen what can happen when we stop being compassionate and understanding with each other.
In the clash of cultures, there is always a middle path. Many countries have found these compromises and, as a result, have benefited from the diversity brought by immigration. We are brothers and sisters. I know we can treat each other with respect, regardless of physical manifestations. What is with this obsession with touching anyway?