While some politicians supported the school’s decision to dismiss the Muslim teacher for discrimination against women, others argued that the dismissal itself was a violation of the Anti-Discrimination Act. The man, however, claimed the refusal to shake hands was based on the teachings of Islam in order to create “fewer temptations.”
Ekeberg Primary School in Oslo has refused to prolong the contract of a Muslim fill-in teacher who refused to shake hands with his female colleagues for religious reasons, the daily newspaper Dagsavisen reported.
“Our female teachers experienced that he rejected their hands,” former school Principal Bente Alfheim said.
According to Alfheim, the man informed the school of his religious convictions before receiving his job. Alfheim said that the school staff had made it clear that they didn’t accept the practice of not shaking hands with women.
“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.
The man rejected the notion that he had been refusing to shake hands out of disrespect for women. He stressed that the idea was to “create fewer temptations,” adding that he was following the teachings of the prophet.