Muslim woman denied French citizenship over handshake

France’s highest administrative court has upheld a decision to deny citizenship to an Algerian Muslim woman who refused to shake hands with officials during her citizenship ceremony.

According to a ruling seen by AFP, the woman argued that her religious beliefs prevented her 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 behaviour 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 the last appeal in such matters, ruled the government “had not improperly applied” the law.

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