Utrecht: Teachers upset at Muslim woman who doesn't shake hands

Utrecht: Teachers upset at Muslim woman who doesn't shake hands

The appointment of an employee who does not shake hands with man due to her beliefs, is causing resentment among some teachers in the School for Journalism in Utrecht.

The person in question has been working since September in an administrative positivtion. In an email to the teachers she said that she does not shake hands with men, but will greet these colleagues with a hand on her hart. The Muslim woman wanted in this way to prevent annoying situation when getting to know people.

Teacher Michiel Smis says he feels discriminated. "Purely because of the fact that I'm a man she refused to shake my hand. I can't imagine that the management accepts it if somebody doesn't shake hands with a Jew, gay or somebody Black." He and several other employees shared their complaint with the management of the Communication and Journalism Faculty.

Smis is a supporter of diversity within education and supports the emancipation of Muslim women. Additionally he's an advocate for freedom of religion and expression. "But we should treat each other equally. It's part of the norm that we shake each other's hands. In my view there's no room in this organization for somebody who refuses to do this for these reasons."

Désirée Majoor, head of the Communication and Journalism Faculty, says in response that the employee reported her behavior regarding men before her job interview. She is well qualified for the position and has a pleasant and open attitude. "There is no issue here that she avoids contact. She only chooses to great men differently. That does not impede her functioning."

Source: Trajectum (Dutch)

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