Norway: Muslim Leader Refuses to Shake Hands With Female Minister

Chris Menahan
Sep. 11, 2017

A Muslim leader refused to shake hands with a female minister during a TV debate last week, then responded to Norwegians' outrage by accusing them all of being racist bigots.

From Sputnik News:
The leader of a local Muslim organization in Norway created a stir by refusing to shake hands with the nation's female immigration minister at the start of their TV debate, epitomizing the collision between European values and those of traditional Islam and possibly affecting the outcome of the Norwegian general election.
Norway's controversial Immigration and Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug has once again become the focal point of the local press. This time, though, she found herself on the receiving end of a media scandal, as Fahad Qureshi, founder and leader of the organization Islam Net, notoriously refused to shake hands with her before a TV debate on VGTV.

Sylvi Listhaug entered the studio and after first shaking hands with the male host extended her hand to Qureshi, who instead of returning the handshake handed her a bunch of flowers. In an awkward scene, Listhaug kept offering her hand, but the Muslim man demonstrably refused it, instead putting his own hand to his heart.

In response to outrage, Qureshi said Norwegians are racist bigots for not accepting him "as Norwegian."
In response to this article, Mr. Qureshi shared with Sputnik his perspective on the handshake incident:

"Regarding the handshake, I greeted Listhaug with all respect and reverence and gave her flowers, but I was not accepted as Norwegian unless I defied my religious beliefs that do not allow a Muslim to have physical contact with the opposite gender.

"Being unable to respect that other people have certain limitations due to their religion, especially when you are a minister of integration, is very problematic. One sends a signal of cultural supremacy, which is not an unknown phenomenon in racist ideology.

"I believe that we need to respect each other’s limits and look at the other person’s intentions behind their actions. Not touching the other gender is not related to supremacy, it is – from an Islamic point of view – related to honoring the other gender’s dignity and value. Islam teaches me to honor the other gender so much, that I am not even allowed to touch a woman except in the case of my wife and female family members. So, I find it sad that a gesture that has such a beautiful intention behind it is [portrayed] in such a negative way."
Norwegians should respond by informing Mr. Qureshi and others like him that deporting him back to his home country is "the highest honor" which can be doled out by us progressive Europeans.

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