Muslim woman who refused handshake denied French citizenship
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Unfair shake?

Muslim woman who refused handshake denied French citizenship

Court of last appeal says refusal to shake hands with official and politician for religious reasons showed she was ‘not assimilated’ into French life

A vendor sets up his stall on the first day of the 30th Annual Meeting of France's Muslims, in Le Bourget, Paris, April 2013. (AP/Remy de la Mauviniere)
A vendor sets up his stall on the first day of the 30th Annual Meeting of France's Muslims, in Le Bourget, Paris, April 2013. (AP/Remy de la Mauviniere)

PARIS, France — France’s highest administrative court has upheld a decision to deny a French passport to an Algerian Muslim who refused to shake hands with officials during her citizenship ceremony, according to a ruling seen by AFP Thursday.

The woman argued that her “religious beliefs” prevented her from shaking hands with a senior official presiding over the citizenship ceremony in the southeastern Isere region in June 2016, as well as with a local politician.

The government said her behavior showed she was “not assimilated into the French community” — one of the reasons it can invoke under the civil code to oppose citizenship for the spouse of a French national.

The woman, who has been married to a Frenchman since 2010, appealed the April 2017 decision, calling it an “abuse of power.”

But the Council of State, the court of last appeal in such matters, ruled the government “had not improperly applied” the law.

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