In Sweden, a Muslim man is suing the state after he got dismissed from his job for not shaking hands with women, an action which is against his religious beliefs.

The Muslim man worked for Helsingborg municipality in southern Sweden. He refused to shake hands with his female coworkers and instead held his hand to his heart when greeting them. The man hasn't been named.

Some of his colleagues complained to bosses and as a result the man was fired for, as his manager put it, "breaching the equality policy".

“We are in favor of diversity. People can believe what they like, but that doesn’t mean that they can discriminate. We will stand up for values like equality," Liberal Councilor Maria Winberg told the Local.

"His female colleagues felt they were being discriminated against. You can believe what you like, but you cannot behave how you like in the workplace," she added.

The Muslim man, however, says he doesn't understand why anyone would take offence at the way in which he greets women.

“I'm a practicing, religious Muslim and want to follow my religion. And it's not just men who do not shake hands with women, there are also women who do not want to shake hands with men," he explained.

The man has brought a lawsuit against Helsingborg over his dismissal and is now being represented by an anti-discrimination group named "Malmö mot Diskriminering" (Malmö Against Discrimination).