Helsingborg (Sweden): A Muslim teacher has quit her job at a school in Sweden after being told she would have to shake hands with male members of staff.
Fardous El-Sakka had been working as a substitute teacher at the Kunskapsskolan School in Helsingborg, when she was asked to shake hands with a male teacher. But the 20-year-old refused as her religion forbids her from touching any member of the opposite sex who is not related to her, Male Online news reported.
The man then reported El-Sakka to the school's principal, who told her that if she wanted to work there, she would have to abide by the institution's values of shaking hands.
However, she decided to quit rather than go against her religious beliefs and has now referred her case to the Swedish trade union. She told the Local that it was the first time a man had taken offence at her refusal to shake his hand and that she can't see herself working at the school again.
El-Sakka added: 'I haven’t received a reply from the union yet, they’re still looking at my case, so I don’t want to say too much until I’ve got some kind of information from them about what will happen with it.
'It's a special school for me because I was a student there. But I don’t think I can see a way back there now.'
Meanwhile the school put out a statement clarifying they did not sack the teacher and that she chose to leave. They added: 'We would also like to carefully point out that the issue was not her religious beliefs, but rather it is about choosing to treat men and women differently by shaking the hands of women but not men.'
The case mirrors several similar cases around Europe, where Muslim boys in schools have also refused to shake hands with women.
Earlier this week, it was ruled a 15-year-old Muslim schoolboy will have to shake hands with his female teachers after he refused to do so because of his religious beliefs.
Amer Salhani lost his appeal on Monday after his school in Switzerland rejected his argument that the Swiss tradition of handshake greetings went against Islam.
The teenager and his older brother sparked a fiery debate earlier this year when they said they could not shake their teacher's hand because their religion forbids physical contact with a member of the opposite sex unless they are family.