When a handshake is not welcome…


A University of Auckland academic has been sacked after trying to shake a female Muslim student’s hand and then accusing her of sexual discrimination when she refused.

“A harsh punishment for a bruised ego I thought, until this morning.,” says journalist Mahvash Ali in an opinion piece published in Stuff.

“I am a Muslim woman, a pretty friendly one actually.

And I really don’t want to offend you – friendly blokes of the world – but out of respect for the other gender, I don’t shake hands.

And it works both ways, so Muslim men may also avoid shaking hands with women.”.

Ali says people’s choices need to be respected.  To refuse to shake hands does is not  necessarily a sign that the person dislikes you.

A newsletter from vice-chancellor Stuart McCutcheon to all university staff said the unnamed, male staff member intentionally set out to force the young student to shake his hand.

The employee acted knowing it was culturally and religiously inappropriate for Muslim women to have physical contact with a man who was not a close relative or husband, McCutcheon said.

But, “What if this wasn’t a Muslim woman?” Ali asks.

“She is a female who did not want to physically interact with a man and he forced her to do it.

– It is a choice, the single most modern and liberal thing about our society.

Now please tell me you have struck ‘sexual discrimination’ off your list and replaced it with “I am a mature man and I don’t mind because it’s her choice”.


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News category: New Zealand.

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