Muslim woman refuses a handshake

  Cymro. 12:52 16 Aug 2018

BBC link

Sorry that this one is on much the same line as one debated a few days ago but it's a slow new day and I dare say you will find some interest in it. A Muslim woman in Sweden has won compensation after her job interview was ended when she refused a handshake. Farah Alhajeh was applying for a job as an interpreter when she declined to shake the hand of a male interviewer for religious reasons. She placed her hand over her heart in greeting instead.The Swedish labour court ruled the company had discriminated against her and ordered it to pay 40,000 kronor ($4,350; £3,420) in compensation. Some Muslims avoid physical contact with members of the opposite sex, except for those in their immediate family. I would have thought that as someone applying for a job as an interpreter and therefore with a good standard of education she would have know that a handshake was the usual way of things in the West. So I wonder if she really wanted the job. Feeling as she obviously does about such things should she have even tried for such a job.

  oresome 13:14 16 Aug 2018

I fail to see how the nature of the job or your assessment of her intelligence had anything to do with it Cymro.

Her religious beliefs prevented her shaking hands with a male and to avoid any accusation of sexual discrimination she avoided shaking hands with anyone of whatever orientation.

It seems to me to have been a well considered action on her part and the potential employer should have placed an equal amount of thought into explaining why she was unsuccessful if that turned out to be the case.

  john bunyan 14:22 16 Aug 2018

At my granddaughter’s graduations from UCL a number of graduates avioded shaking the Vice Chancellors hand, and touched their heart instead when going on stage at the ceremony.

  john bunyan 15:39 16 Aug 2018

Archie 44

Inappropriate comments, methinks.

  wee eddie 16:00 16 Aug 2018

In the Middle East, as with the restriction on the eating of Pork (Trichinosis). Shaking hands was regarded as highly risky to your health, you needed to wipe your bum with something, and is basically a European habit.

Showing that your Knife/sword hand was empty

  lotvic 19:18 16 Aug 2018

Having had a think about it, I can't remember the last time I shook hands. I have adopted the habit of nodding my head in acknowledgement and murmuring a few words appropriate to the occasion.

I also carry and use hand sanitizer gel. Both habits have been adopted by me as a natural progression from visiting Hospitals, using public transport and being 'germ aware'.

  Forum Editor 17:11 17 Aug 2018

Placing your hand over your heart as a form of greeting has always struck me as an elegant and expressive way of doing it.

Whether you are a Muslim or not, you should have the right to refuse to shake hands, and use an alternative method. In india, it is perfectly normal for people to put their hands together as in prayer and raise them in greeting.

Apart from anything else, Both methods are far more hygienic than hand-shaking.

  rickf 17:53 17 Aug 2018

Much ado about nothing.

  roger.roger 13:24 18 Aug 2018

Muslim couple denied Swiss citizenship over no handshake

enter link description here

  carver 09:07 21 Aug 2018

Sorry but if you want to be part of a society then you adopt that culture, a handshake in the west is part of that culture and should be respected. Or is it only "foreign" culture we should respect. It is not part of muslim religion to not shake hands but part of the downgrading of women in muslim culture that tries to forbid them from interacting with men. Same as the burqa, that is only worn to hide the "beauty" of a women from men so they do not get aroused by looking at them, nothing to do with their religion just the muslim male interpretation of it.

  Forum Editor 19:24 21 Aug 2018


"Sorry but if you want to be part of a society then you adopt that culture"

Really? It's a pity that we haven't done so in the past.

For centuries, all over the world, there have been British people living and working in foreign countries without adopting the culture of those societies - in fact we have arrogantly gone out of our way to make the indigenous people adopt our cultural practices.

I can see absolutely nothing wrong with a woman - regardless of her religion or ethnic origin - preferring not to shake hands when greeting strange men.

In France, it's customary for women to greet both men and women with a kiss on each cheek, but if you are a woman from a different country nobody forces you to do it - they understand if you prefer to use some other form of greeting.

In my opinion, terminating a job interview because a woman preferred not to shake hands with a man is absolutely ridiculous, and the Swedish Labour Court obviously agreed.

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