I’m shocked but pleased that this happened in Sweden.
File photo of people shaking hands. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
Muslim man fired for not shaking women’s hands
Published: 22 Jul 2016 14:12 GMT+02:00
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The man, a practising Muslim, worked for Helsingborg municipality in southern Sweden. He said it was against his religious beliefs to shake women’s hands, although he was happy to shake the hands of male colleagues.
But council bosses said his stance was incompatible with their equality policy, and said he could no longer work there.
“We are in favour of diversity. People can believe what they like, but that doesn’t mean that they can discriminate. We will stand up for values like equality,” Liberal councillor Maria Winberg told The Local.
The man’s name and the exact nature of his work have not been revealed, but he was working on a casual basis. Speaking to SVT he said: “I don’t understand why someone would take exception to me greeting them with my hand on my heart.”
“I am a practising, religious Muslim and I want to follow my religion. It’s not just men who don’t want to shake women’s hands, there are also women who don’t want to shake hands with men,” he said.
But Winberg, who is in charge of the council’s HR policy, said the man’s stance had gone down badly in the workplace: “His female colleagues felt they were being discriminated against.