Swiss authorities revealed their decision on Friday, adding that the couple had also failed to integrate and respect gender equality.
They confirmed the decision on Friday, further citing the couple’s failure to integrate and respect gender equality.
The couple were interviewed several months ago, during which they apparently struggled to answer questions posed by members of the opposite sex.
The announcement comes days after a Swedish Muslim woman was awarded compensation after a job interview was terminated because she refused to shake hands.
Switzerland expect aspiring citizens to be well integrated into the Swiss community and to demonstrate an attachment to their country, its institutions and a respect for the Swiss legal order.
Authorities did not reveal details about the couple, described by local media as being of North African origin.
However, they did confirmed they considered that the couple had failed to meet citizenship criteria when they applied in the city of Lausanne.
Mayor Gregoire Junod said freedom of religion was enshrined in local laws but added that ”religious practice does not fall outside the law”.
The couple had not been asked about asked about their faith, authorities said, although their religion seemed apparent, local media also reported.
Officials said the couple were not rejected because of their religion but for their lack of respect for gender equality.
Pierre-Antoine Hilbrand, who was part of the commission which interviewed the couple, said: “The constitution and equality between men and women prevails over bigotry.”
The issue of handshakes has proved controversial in Switzerland before.
Two years ago, a Swiss school exempted two Muslim boys from shaking both male and female teachers’ hands because they refused to shake hands with a female teacher.
However, after a national uproar the family’s citizenship process was suspended.
Meanwhile, an Algerian woman was denied citizenship after she refused to shake the hand of an official during her citizenship ceremony.
The issue of shaking hands with the opposite sex is the subject of debate within the Muslim community.
According to www.al-islam.org, as a general rule men and women are not permitted to shake hands with anyone who they could lawfully marry.
However, the website adds: “In non-Muslim countries in certain situation and emergencies it may become necessary to shake hands with the opposite sex.
“The situations for Muslim men not shaking hands with non-Muslim women may result in distress or substantial damage or it causes problem and the man is unable to explain the reason of his action (of not shaking hands) or it is contrary to the common law of that area.
“In this case contact is permitted on the condition that he does not have the intention of sensual pleasure and it is an emergency situation.”