Cancellation of German Citizenship—A Case of Hypocrisy “Demanding Freedom VS Giving Freedom”

by Ayesha Sohail

Western hypocrisy is a distinctive characteristic of the world we live in today, where Muslims become victims of attacks, boycotts, false claims, tortures, and deprived from individual rights. In General, The German constitution helps people whose citizenship revokes for “political, racial or religious reasons,” but the constitution disappears when it comes to Muslims.

Cancellation of German Citizenship

The Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg (VGH) ruled on Friday to cancel a Lebanese Muslim doctor’s German citizenship after he refused to shake a female immigration official’s hand due to religious reasons.

The doctor has studied medicine in Germany and now works as a senior physician in a clinic. He applied for citizenship through naturalization in 2012, for which he signed a declaration of loyalty to the German constitution against extremism. He received the highest score in the test for applicants for citizenship. While receiving the german passport , he refused to shake hands with the woman who was going to hand over the documents to him. The woman, therefore, withheld the certificate and rejected the application.

The Stuttgart Administrative Court rejected the doctor’s initial appeal against the ruling before the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg did the same. However, the judge said he could still appeal in federal court due to the case’s significance.

The VGH described a handshake as a standard nonverbal greeting and farewell ritual independent of the sex of the involved parties, adding that the practice goes back centuries. The judge found that the handshake also has a legal meaning, in that it symbolizes the conclusion of a contract. Therefore, the handshake is “deeply rooted in social, cultural and legal life, which shapes the way we live together.”

The incident shows how traditional values have once again won over religious beliefs.

Demanding Freedom VS Giving Freedom

Muslims always suffer in the name of their religious beliefs. This case comes two years after a Muslim couple denied Swiss citizenship to refuse to shake hands with members of the opposite sex. Switzerland also in 2016 rejected citizenship requests from two Muslim girls who refused to take part in swimming lessons with boys at school. The headscarf controversy in France and the recent stabbing of two Muslim Women under the Eiffel Tower are also a part of this so-called Secularism.

VGH found that anyone who refuses to shake hands on gender-specific grounds is in breach of the German constitution’s equality. The court accused the man of seeing women as “a danger of sexual temptation.” It seems a sexist statement that does not come under the modern definition of liberalism.

As Michael Sande says, “Liberalism begins with the claim we are separate, individual persons, each with our own aims, interests and conceptions of the good, and seeks a framework of rights that will enable us to realize our capacity as free moral agents, consistent with a similar liberty for others.” So, if these Liberals have preferred their traditional values over religious reason, then why people were out on the roads demanding “freedom of speech” for Samuel Paty in France?

Similarly, the court has also found that the handshake has legal significance since it symbolizes a contract’s conclusion and the business world’s most widespread greetings. Then one should ask why Germany’s interior minister himself took health experts’ advice seriously and refused to shake Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hand?

Can we call this hypocrisy for demanding freedom for themselves but not respecting someone’s freedom of Religion?

Is Religion not enough to justify a handshake denial?

It is not fair to cancel a person’s citizenship who has signed a declaration denouncing extremism and expressing loyalty to the German constitution accusing him of the “fundamentalist conception of culture and values.”
The saddest part is there’s a never-ending war between liberal democracy and religious fanaticism. Still, we have to find Religion within the limits of liberalism and learn to speak for our rights!

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