The Swiss are getting all sweaty over one family’s fondness for sweatpants.
The Halili family, from Kosovo, had their application for Swiss citizenship rejected in part because of complaints that the German-speaking family of four preferred supersoft fleece and cotton blends (sweatpants) to denim (jeans), according to local media.
The Basellandschaftliche Zeitung newspaper reported that while the family met many of the requirements for naturalization such as being familiar with the habits and geography of where they live —the village of Bubendorf in the canton of Basel-Country — a committee of residents overseeing the process ruled that they were nevertheless insufficiently Swiss.
One of the arguments the committee put forth was that the Halilis favored sweatpants to jeans. They also routinely failed to greet fellow villagers when passing by, the paper said.
Kosovo is a disputed territory in the central Balkan peninsula that declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Hundreds of thousands of Kosovar refugees fled Serb aggression.
Basellandschaftliche Zeitung said it was uncommon for applications for citizenship to be rejected in Basel-Country. The Local (Switzerland), an English-language news service, said authorities there declined to comment on the case and a spokesman for Switzerland’s federal migration service told the outlet it was not able to overturn the decision.
The Local also quoted an employee of the naturalization-Switzerland.chwebsite who spoke to the French-language Le Matin newspaper.
“When I was preparing to obtain citizenship, I was more worried about the history of William Tell than about my clothes,” Florian Pariset said, according to The Local.
“At no moment did I think ‘I hope no one sees me in jogging bottoms,’” said Pariset.
Late last month, educational authorities in Switzerland decided that parents or guardians of students who refused to shake a teacher’s hand could be fined up to $5,000. The practice is a Swiss tradition. The ruling came after two teenage Muslim boys refused to shake hands with their female teacher on religious grounds.
Swissinfo, a website with information about Switzerland, says that to be naturalized the “person must be well integrated, familiar with customs and traditions, law abiding, and pose no threat to internal or external security.”