Denmark's news in English

Editions:  Europe · Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland

Danish mayors call for scrapping of citizenship handshake law

Share this article

Danish mayors call for scrapping of citizenship handshake law
File photo: Asger Ladefoged/Ritzau Scanpix
10:59 CEST+02:00
A law requiring newly-nationalized Danes to shake hands with a representative at their citizenship ceremonies should be scrapped, say a number of Social Democratic mayors prior to the party’s upcoming national congress.

As part of new rules on citizenship which came into effect on January 1st, participants at citizenship ceremonies are required to shake hands with their mayor or local official. 

The new ceremony was provided for by a citizenship bill agreed last year by the previous government and the Danish People’s Party. It was seen by critics as targeting Muslims who, for religious reasons, do not shake hands with members of the opposite sex.

It was also linked to a significant increase in the cost of the citizen application process.

The Social Democrats abstained from the 2018 vote which passed the handshake law, saying shaking hands is a natural gesture and does not require legislation.

But Social Democrat mayors now want the law to be rolled back, broadcaster DR reports.

The local authority leaders are therefore appealing to party colleague Mathias Tesfaye, the minister for immigration and integration, to act.

Holger Schou Rasmussen, a municipal mayor on the island of Lolland, called the law “symbolic” and “a slippery slope”.

“It is very un-Danish and I simply dislike it. It does not represent open or free thought. The law should be scrapped because it is only about targeting cultural minorities who would like to be Danish citizens,” Rasmussen told DR.

Since taking over from Inger Støjberg as immigration minister, Tesfaye has not taken a firm stance on whether the law will be retained or discontinued by the new government.

He has previously said that he wants to attend ceremonies himself in order to observe the law in practice.

READ ALSO: Handshakes high on the agenda as Denmark's immigration minister awards nine citizenships

 
Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

 

The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.
Luigi - 13 Sep 2019 14:54
How about providing a bit of balance with your news? Case in point, your article on certain Danish mayors, now asking to roll back the Citizenship handshake requirement. The hypocrisy shown by these mayors is so stark, yet the news does not even attempt to explain the contradiction or Danish society norms.

The article states, "It was seen by critics as targeting Muslims who, for religious reasons, do not shake hands with members of the opposite sex." In a society which prides itself on its gender equality and LGBT rights, these Mayors are welcoming behavior which does the exact opposite by hoping to allow a group of people to have special status to discriminate, no matter what their reason. "It is very un-Danish, and I simply dislike it. It does not represent open or free thought. The law should be scrapped because it is only about targeting cultural minorities who would like to be Danish citizens," Rasmussen told DR. How can these two statements be made without anyone questioning the utter contradiction between the two?

How is this good for an open society to begin a process where a group is given special consideration? This is a perilous precedent. Muslim rules as it pertains to gender and sexual orientation is not compatible with an 'open or free thought society' and shame on The Local for NOT calling these mayors out on this topic. This is NOT racist but merely a reaffirmation of Danish societal norms, and there should be NO consideration given to those who, for whatever reason, choose to reject it. It is a slippery slope, and once you begin these 'exceptions' there will be no end. Danish citizenship is a privilege, and if one wants it, they must accept it as is!
Become a Member or sign-in to leave a comment.