December 21, 2018
Danish lawmakers have approved a government-backed proposal to make citizenship applicants shake hands with the official conducting the naturalization ceremony. The bill has been criticized for discriminating against Muslims.
The new citizenship bill has been the subject of a heated debate since last summer. It requires those applying for Danish citizenship to commit to the country’s values and to show respect for its government by shaking hands with its representative.
Critics of the bill argue that it’s aimed at discouraging Muslims from seeking Danish citizenship, calling the proposal discriminatory and describing it as an unnecessary formality.
The proposal was backed by Denmark’s three-party minority government, with the driving force behind the legislation being the Conservative Party and anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party.
The changes to the naturalization ceremony, which come into effect on January 1, have been met with strong opposition from the local officials who conduct such proceedings. Some mayors have already said they will ignore the new guidelines. The mayor of the town of Kerteminde in central Denmark has gone so far as to imply that he would rather not show up at work than coerce an applicant to shake his hand.
“Shaking hands does not show if you are integrated or not. I think I will probably find an excuse and the deputy mayor will come to work that day,” Kasper Ejsing Olesen told the Guardian earlier.
The red tape associated with the festive ceremony will cost taxpayers an additional 2,400 kroner ($370) – double the current fee of 1,200 kroner ($183). However, the proponents of the new guidelines believe it’s a fair price to pay to become a Dane.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
“When you consider that you are receiving the gift of Danish citizenship, I actually don’t think it’s that expensive. I think it is a tremendously large…