The Swiss, like the Germans, are sticklers for the rules. Despite the level of cultural enrichment in Switzerland, the newcomers have to meet certain mandatory requirements before they can be naturalized and receive a Swiss passport.
Many thanks to Egri Nök for translating this brief report that was published on June 27 in the Austrian magazine Heute (Today):
Muslims not naturalized
Switzerland: Those who won’t swim won’t get a passport
Photo caption: Whoever does not participate in swimming lessons will not be naturalized in Switzerland. (Photo: Reuters)
In Switzerland, two Muslim girls (12, 14) were denied citizenship because they neither partake in swimming lessons nor in school camp. The two sisters from Basel assert these activities are incompatible with their faith.
According to Stefan Wehrle, the president of the Naturalization Commission, the legal situation is clear: adolescents in Basel who wish to be naturalized must comply with the compulsory education. And both swimming lessons and school camps are part of compulsory education: “Whoever does not fulfill that violates the law and will not be naturalized.”
Therefore, it does not matter that the two girls speak German well. This is the first time that an application for naturalization has been rejected for non-participation in swimming lessons. Thus, a precedent is set for future decisions, Wehrle told Swiss Radio SRF.
Legally, they were “on the safe side”. Therefore, the girls’ parents did not appeal to the decision.