Citing his religious belief, a teacher disrespectfully refused to shake a coworker’s hand. As such, the school decided to offer him a special “position” in which he can invoke all the religious superiority he wants.
While millions of immigrants across thousands of cultures express their gratitude and appreciation for the West’s benevolence, there will always be those who believe that exceptional, unmatched Western culture is inferior to their own. Their identifying characteristic is their unwillingness to integrate and subsequent demand that their gracious hosts accept and accommodate their ideological compulsions.
Along with the belief that unbelievers are inferior and categorically “filthy,” devout Muslims maintain that women are iniquitous creatures who cause zealous men to sin. As such, they must entirely cover their sinful bodies and refrain from associating with men. So, when a Muslim educator, who is in his 40s, was expected to treat his female coworker as an equal, he adamantly rejected the notion, citing his religious belief. Unfortunately for him, his employer had a different plan in mind.
According to Norwegian online newspaper NRK, a Muslim male educator has lost his teaching position at Ekeberg Primary School after refusing to shake any of his female coworkers’ hands, which is the standard cultural greeting in Norway. Although the man invoked his right to express his religious beliefs, the elementary school finalized its decision not to extend his teaching contract.
The school maintains that the teacher’s unwillingness to adopt simple Norwegian cultural fundamentals would have a negative impact on students, as he would play a formidable role in molding their lives. Principal Bente Alfheim explained that despite warning the teacher several times that he must comply with their standards for the sake of workplace harmony, he continuously refused.
“Our female teachers experienced that he rejected their hands,” former school Principal Bente Alfheim said.
“We have always said it was a problem, we never said we accepted it. Nevertheless, we were still open to inclusion, though, and would give him an opportunity,” Alfheim told national broadcaster NRK.
Of course, the teacher insisted that he must refrain from touching any non-relative women, arguing that it is a tenet of Islam which makes for “fewer temptations,” Dagsavisen reports.
“People think it’s because I look down on women, but I’m not trying to offend anyone at all. The idea is to create fewer temptations. My understanding of Islam is that this is a prohibition of the Prophet – peace be upon him – and then I follow it,” he explains.
While some have suggested that it is a trivial discrepancy that doesn’t hinder the man from fulfilling his job duties, the school cited his history of rejecting activities based on religious principles. The school revealed that along with refusing to greet female coworkers equally, the Muslim teacher would not serve lunches containing pork to students, which was an aspect of his job description.
The school argued in a letter to the Discrimination Board that “it is completely significant for him that he does not want to carry a plate of chopped pork liver from the kitchen to the children at the SFO.”
Although the school accommodated the teacher, allowing him to opt out of serving pork to the children, his list of demands continued to grow. Soon, the Muslim educator expected the school to give him extra time off so that he could attend Friday prayers at his mosque on a weekly basis.
No amount of accommodation was enough for the educator. In fact, he now accuses the school of facilitating racism and discrimination for refusing to cave to his demands.
“Every day, it became tougher and I experienced physical violence and racist remarks. I persevered because I wanted to make as good an impression as possible, so that I could get a permanent job when the practice period was over,” he says.
However, the Discrimination Board has reviewed the case and sided with the school’s decision to fire the teacher. Expectedly, he has appealed their ruling, maintaining that his rights were violated. Still, the school stands behind the initial decision.
The school has responded to a letter to the board that a “requirement to be able to shake hands with persons of both sexes is a prerequisite for anyone who is going to work in the Norwegian school system.”
Alfheim pointed to the fact that, as educators, they are responsible for modeling appropriate behavior to students. As such, employees must be held to the same standards that they expect from their students.
“As a school and I as a leader, we cannot say that we accept that women are not greeted the same [as men], because that’s what I was allowing. I cannot. By hiring him, we are sending a message that this is okay. How would I explain this to students, for example, for whom we are responsible?” asks Alfheim.
This invocation of religious beliefs is merely a non-physical form of jihad meant to pressure the non-Muslim majority into accepting and obeying Sharia law. By refusing to offer the accepted greeting to women, this educator was forcing them to comply with Islam’s compulsions and subsequently invoking his own religious right.
If Islam is given an inch, it will take a mile. As history proves, it will not stop until the entire population has submitted to its religious law, as the Quran commands.