Is this law racist or just plain practical? 24



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When you want to become an Australian citizen the requirement is pretty simple – you just need to be a permanent resident with a clean record and have the ability to pass a general knowledge test. It also helps if you intend on staying in the country too.

But if you want to become a Swiss resident, things are a little tougher.

If you have no blood tie to Switzerland you must live in the country for 12 years before applying for citizenship; and while Australia and the United States rate your general knowledge high, in Switzerland you have to prove you’ve really, truly integrated into society before you’ll get a look in.

When two girls – aged 12 and 14 – refused to participate in swimming lessons and camps because the proximity to men was forbidden in their religion their applications for Swiss citizenship were denied.

According to the president of the naturalisation committee, Stefan Wehrle, any young person wanting to become a permanent citizen in Switzerland must demonstrate they are meeting the requirements of the country’s education system. In this case, swimming lessons are compulsory in the Swiss city of Basel.

It’s one of many cases where individuals and families have seen their citizenship requests denied because they fail to properly integrate into the country’s society and culture.

Back in April, Starts at 60 highlighted the outrage after a male student was excused from shaking his female teacher’s hand when shaking hands is part of the Swiss culture.

That decision was later overturned and has been replaced by a rule that allows for a parent or guardian to be fined up to A$6,805 if their child refused to shake hands.

What do you think about the Swiss Government’s policy on citizenship? Would you like to see tougher rules in Australia in relation to citizenship applications?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Definitely! Tighten things up considerably, (and that’s an immigrant talking, after twenty seven years of living here, twenty five of them as a proud Australian citizen).

    2 REPLY
    • Good for you Brian, totally Agree, embrace all of your new country. It was a CHOICE you made, most of these new ‘ immigrant’s ‘ seem to want to continue in the same ways, ignoring or asking for the new country to implement their oppressing laws they fled from, at the same time enjoy the privileges of the new county. Can’t have it both ways.

      1 REPLY
      • Like the Brethren maybe? Maybe the solution, like switzerland is a 100% secular society. I’d vote for that.

    • Fantastic Brian. Whole heartedly agree things need to be tightened up but very happy to welcome people who are prepared to integrate

  2. If someone doesn’t APPROVE of the culture of a particular country … then why on earth would they want to become a citizen of that country? It’s seems pretty simple: if you don’t like the culture, then don’t join with that country.

    Conversely, why on earth would a country want to make someone a citizen of that country if that person does not approve of that culture and does not want to merge into that society? Again, pretty straightforward logic.

  3. Just yet another example of islamists’ not fitting into Western society.

    Like here, THEY want us to bend to THEIR cultist rules! Total bs!

    They know the rules BEFORE going to live in Western society. They’re the ONLY group doing this! Who the hell do they think they are, trying to trample over Westerners’?

    Good on the Swiss for having the gumption to knock them back.
    Damn shame our pollies’ are scared wusses, & gutless to boot, to do the same, in case of offence! Bee ridiculous!

    Maybe Pauline
    can get some ruling passed in the Senate. She, & others’ of her Party are the only ones’ with enough intestinal fortitude to stand up to these cultists’.

    We need much tougher rulings here, most definitely. One thing is they must be able to read, write, & speak English to a high competency. This is the language of this Country.

    1 REPLY
  4. Absolutely, we are a bit of a joke when someone has been here for generations and still cannot talk the language. I think we should treat citenzenship as something precious. If you can’t live in your own country you should abide by our laws and culture. I don’t agree with these little pockets of our country taken over by separate groups not healthy.

  5. As usual I think people are only getting half the story … Muslim men can shake hands with other men ; but not with any woman who is not family. (This includes Muslim women too !) A Muslim woman can shake hands with any woman, but not even a Muslim man; if he is not close family.

    As a mark of respect a man or a woman can touch their heart. This serves as a handshake, this is an acceptable practice all over the world. Even Orthodox Jews do not touch or shake hands with the opposite sex.

    Muslim men and women do not make eye contact and hold the gaze of the opposite sex either. This is much the same as Aboriginal people – this is a mark of respect.

    This practice should not be seen as rudeness or not showing respect ; instead it should be viewed as deep sensitivity to the privacy and respect that a woman ( or a man ) deserves. It certainly has nothing to do with not integrating into a country or not being accepting of that countries set of values. It is no more than a different way to show your respect to that person.

    2 REPLY
    • Sorry Jannah, assimilate or get out (I’m an immigrant of 12 years)

      1 REPLY
      • James , if you can not live with the fact that people of other cultures enrich our society than you should return to your home land . stop denying us cultural diversity.
        Jannah , glad to see that there are still some Australians that remember to show tolerance towards others.

    • With all due respect, I think it is you who only have half the story, the article was mentioning a young man who refused to shake hands with a teacher, who happened to be female, that is certainly a novel way as you put it ” to show your respect to that person”

  6. When people come to our country they are given rights and responsibilities. They have the right to be treated as Australians. One of the responsibilities are to integrate with Australian society. We do not integrate with them. If they do not integrate then it is time to send them back to what was obviousley a better way of life for them. They do tend to forget those reasons.

  7. Once again ignorance seems to be uppermost…heard of the brethren? Mormons? There are many christian groups practising segregation, damnation to all not of them , polygamy, the evils of sex, and all sorts of antisovial claptrap. I’m with you if Pauline bans the fekking lot of them and taxes the churches as well. Otherwise its merely racism mate.

    1 REPLY
  8. I agree with the Swiss. If you want to leave your country to Australia you assimilate. You can still practise your religion but abide by our laws. Do not even try to change us. That means even wearing proper school uniforms etc. my kids got upset when there were rules for Moslems and rules for Aussies. I have lives O/S and we have to abide by there laws so our govt should be much much more stricter

  9. Yes 100% almost every migrant we have here in this beautiful country of ours have called Australia there home they have learnt the language worked hard and assimilated but for a minority now we have to accept their culture and bend and bow to their demands IT IS WRONG you come here to escape what you had but you demand that we give up our right to object sorry go back and tell the others not to come here.

  10. About time too! Makes real sense to me! Why would anyone think they can have Australian citizenship if they don’t want to be Australian!

  11. I also am an immigrant of 39 years, an Australian citizen for 38 years and proud of it. My decision to come to Australia, why would I choose to move from one side of the world to the other, leaving friends and family behind and not want to fit into my new home. Make it tougher just like the article says. You must assimilate and speak English.

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