Muslim woman who refused handshake denied French citizenship

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PARIS: France’s highest administrative court on Thursday upheld the decision to deny French passport to an Algerian Muslim who refused to shake hands with officials during her citizenship ceremony.

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 that her behaviour showed she was “not assimilated into the French community”, one of the reasons it could invoke under the civil code to deny citizenship for the spouse of a French national.

The woman, who had 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 the last appeal in such matters, ruled that the government “had not improperly applied” the law.