Assimilation

Muslim girls who refuse to swim with boys denied Swiss citizenship

Two Muslim women stand beneath an umbrella adorned with Swiss crosses during a protest on December 12, 2009, over the country's strict views on assimilation. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Authorities in Switzerland have rejected the naturalization application of two Muslim girls who refused to take school swimming lessons with boys present, the latest move to deny citizenship to those who decline integration with Swiss culture. Candidates for Swiss citizenship must prove they are well assimilated and respect local customs.

The girls, ages 12 and 14, say their religion prevents them from taking part in the school’s compulsory swimming lessons with males in the pool at the same time. Local authorities in Basel rejected their application for failure to comply with the school curriculum, meaning their applications will not be forwarded for processing to the state and federal authorities.

In April, the citizenship process of a Muslim family in Switzerland was suspended after two brothers, ages 14 and 15, refused to shake the hands of their female teachers (customary in Swiss schools), because physical contact with women outside their own family would violate their faith.

Read the full story at USA Today.

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