Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Outrage as Muslim pupils exempt from shaking female teachers' hands in Swiss district
(AFP) - Male Muslim students at a school in northern Switzerland will no longer have to shake hands with their female teachers, following a ruling that was on Monday causing an uproar in the country.

A school in the northern municipality of Therwil, in the canton of Basel, reached the controversial decision after two male students, aged 14 and 15, complained that the Swiss custom of shaking hands with the teacher is counter to their religious beliefs if the teacher is a woman.

They argued that Islam does not permit physical contact with a person of the opposite sex, with the exception of certain immediate family members.

The local Therwil council did not support the school's decision, "but will not intervene as (it) is the responsibility of the school to set the rules," spokeswoman Monika Wyss told AFP in a statement.

The decision triggered an outcry across Switzerland with Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga insisting on Swiss public television Monday that "shaking hands is part of our culture."
She Was Asked to Switch Seats. Now She’s Charging El Al With Sexism.
...Ms. Rabinowitz was comfortably settled into her aisle seat in the business-class section on El Al Flight 028 from Newark to Tel Aviv in December when, as she put it, “this rather distinguished-looking man in Hasidic or Haredi garb, I’d guess around 50 or so, shows up.”

The man was assigned the window seat in her row. But, like many ultra-Orthodox male passengers, he did not want to sit next to a woman, seeing even inadvertent contact with the opposite sex as verboten under the strictest interpretation of Jewish law. Soon, Ms. Rabinowitz said, a flight attendant offered her a “better” seat, up front, closer to first class.
Adam Shatz on the Hebdo editorial, in the LRB
It isn’t clear whether France’s values are being upheld or perverted by such a far-reaching defence. As Arun Kapil put it to me, ‘the laïcards are the new fundamentalists.’ The 1905 law on the separation of churches and the state, which established laïcité, was based on the neutrality of the state towards religious institutions; it not only stripped the Catholic Church of its powers, it also freed Jews and Protestants to practise their faith more freely. Today’s defenders of laïcité, on both the right and the centre left, have abandoned any pretence of neutrality. It’s no wonder that, for many Muslims in France, including the silent majority who seldom if ever set foot in a mosque – Charlie’s ‘very large iceberg’ – it seems like a code word for keeping them in their place.
A few of the comments are good too.
Nov 2015, an article in the IBT, Why Do American Muslims Fare Better Than Their French Counterparts?
“Our data found that Muslims in the U.S. are employed and educated at very similar levels to the general population,” says Alan Cooperman, director of religion research at Pew. “In Western Europe, Muslims tend to lag the overall population in socioeconomic status.”

Part of that lag can be attributed to the types of Muslim immigrants that have settled in the U.S. versus those who've settled in Europe. Many Muslims came to the United States after the Imigration Act of 1965, and included highly skilled and educated workers. The Muslims migrating to Europe, however, have tended to be economic migrants who labored in factories or came as guest workers.

But even the working class Muslim immigrants in the United States have hope for the future and a belief in upward mobility -- a sense that doesn’t exist among French Muslims.
A new book from Harvard, Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-Heritage Societies, comparing Muslim and Christian immigrant communities in France.
The research is discussed in two posts at The Monkey Cage, in 2014 and 2015, before and after publication. The authors seem to think the position of Muslim immigrants as similar in the US and Europe.

The authors of the Harvard book also see a similar reaction to Muslims and Jews in France
Between September 2013 and September 2014, Marie-Anne Valfort partnered with the Institut Montaigne to conduct the largest résumé experiment ever fielded, with over 6,000 résumés submitted to actual job openings in the French labor market. This experiment involved male and female candidates of Lebanese origin and still found significant anti-Muslim (as well as anti-Jewish) discrimination in France. While a Christian male applicant must on average submit 5 résumés to receive a call-back for an interview, an identical Jewish male applicant must submit 7, and an identical Muslim male applicant must submit 20.
America is more anarchic than Europe. Religious conservatives are welcome but the main public concern is money, and conservative social morality dissolves with success, since business requires to you work with people from other communities. Cultural conservatism hardens only with failure as a group. But we have a weak civic culture. The European civic culture that American liberals appreciate is precisely what locks out socially conservative immigrants, socially and economically.

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