USA Today reports that the Swiss authorities have denied the citizenship applications of two Muslim schoolgirls who refused to swim in a pool with boys based on religious grounds. Authorities cited the students’ refusal to comply with school curricula like all the other children of various races, backgrounds, and religions. “Their refusal to assimilate to and respect the very culture they wanted to take them in and give them the privilege of citizenship was proof enough that they weren’t there to better Swiss society but to force its citizens to adopt their foreign beliefs.”
Stefan Wehrle, president of the naturalisation committee said, “Whoever doesn’t fulfil these conditions violates the law and therefore cannot be naturalised.”
On top of this, parents of students who refused to comply with curriculum for religious reasons or other are fined $1,200 in an effort to discourage seclusion and apartheid.
The case serves as an example to the rest of the Muslim population that you don’t come to a foreign country and refuse to follow its customs and rules only to turn around and demand your own be enforced. If asylum seekers and migrants to Switzerland don’t want to truly be Swiss, why would they apply for citizenship or permanent residence there? To turn the argument on its head, it is completely acceptable for Muslim countries to expect us to assimilate to their codes, customs and laws if we choose to migrate there.
Officials ruled that religious belief is no excuse for such discriminatory behaviour and that students and any other guests of the school must shake hands when greeting teachers because it is a Swiss tradition. Now, anyone who feels they should be exempt from such practices will be fined up to $5,000.
The Education Department stated that “the public interest with respect to equality between men and women and the integration of foreigners significantly outweighs the freedom of religion” and that if the students refuse again, “the sanctions called for by law will be applied.”
And before people jump on this as targeting Muslims, note
“In Switzerland, unlike in the United States and many other countries, integration into society is more important for naturalization than knowledge of national history or politics. Candidates for citizenship must prove that they are well assimilated in their communities and respect local customs and traditions.
In Switzerland, local town or village councils make initial decisions on naturalization applications. If they decide a candidate is not an upstanding member of the community, the application will be denied and not forwarded to canton (state) and federal authorities for further processing.
That’s what happened in 2014 to Irving Dunn, an American who has lived in Switzerland for nearly 40 years. He was denied Swiss citizenship because he could not name any of his Swiss friends or neighbouring villages, authorities said. “The applicant’s answers have shown that his motive for naturalization is not about integration but about the personal advantages it offers,” the naturalization commission ruled.”
When all is said and told, former Prime Minister John Howard said, “we don’t gain acceptance by denying our own identity.” While the Aussie media may mock Pauline Hanson incessantly over her beliefs, that she garnered 400,000 votes in this election suggests that she speaks for a broader section of the community than many in Australia want to admit.