The Danish government seeks to pass a new bill that would require migrants to shake hands in order to receive citizenship. If passed, migrants would necessarily have to sign an agreement to comply with the Danish custom and shake hands with the mayor of municipality. If the handshake is not performed, citizenship will be denied.
This law would likely draw issue from the Islamic community. Within this culture, it is problematic for a Muslim woman to shake a man’s hand. Aware of this issue, some Danish representatives are voicing their discontent with the motion. On Denmark radio, Mayor John Schmidt Andersen said, “It’s not very liberal to force people to shake hands if you come from a culture where you are greeted in a different way.”
Despite the opposition, Integration Minister Inger Stojberg stands behind the proposal. According to Ms. Stojberg, conforming to this standard symbolizes that migrants are embracing Danish values. The Integration Minister told daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten, “The handshake is the accepted way of greeting people in Denmark. That’s the way we show respect for each other in this in this country. That’s why it’s a natural part of this ceremony.”
The Muslim influence has rapidly increased all across Europe in the last few years. The dispute with the Danish political system represents two opposing schools of thought on who to approach the influx of a foreign culture and people.
The liberal voice is in favor of cultural distinctions emerging on the European land mass. Cross cultural norms would thus be catered towards with political and societal evolution attempting to appease distinct worldviews under one unified system.
The traditional voice is in favor of maintaining a dominant Eurocentric culture. Migrating peoples from other lands would thus be assimilating to the norms and values present to the location of which they have chosen to become a member.
Either way, the Muslim influence is new territory for European politics. A cultural experiment is underway, and the western will is unavoidably to be tested as to how to appropriately address a new historical phenomenon.