As a Muslim woman who is a journalist and a proponent of applying media resources to educate the public, the following image was disturbing on many levels.
Why is it not permissible in Islam for women to shake hands with a man?
The Sheikh said:
Can you shake hands with Queen Elizabeth?
British man said:
shake hands with Queen Elizabeth.
Our women are queens and queens do not shake hands with strange men.
Then the British man asked the Sheikh:
Why do your girls cover up their body and hair?
The Sheikh smiled and got two sweets, he opened the first one and kept the other one closed. He threw them both on the dusty floor and asked the British:
If I ask you to take one of the sweets which one will you choose?
The British replied:
The covered one.
The Sheikh said:
That’s how we treat and see our woman...
I'll tell you what. These are extreme situations and these hard statements and rules have nothing to do with the average Muslim society or, how a prospective employer may respond if he was politely told at an interview: I'm sorry, I don't shake hands.
To me, it is upsetting that Muslim women are letting this float around social media- a possibly concocted Photoshop-ed image and an immature rendition of some random man's narrative be the voice of reason for their chosen code of conduct.
I ask the Muslim woman: Really, is this how you see yourself? Is this how you want others to see you?
An outsider would immediately step back and a non-Muslim woman might take offense to the suggestion that she may not be as "clean" a creature as this covered-up woman. Also, there is a large population of Muslim women who do not follow these traditions.
There is nothing wrong with following your cultural and religious beliefs when living in a society that has a different viewpoint as yours. The problem arises when there is miscommunication and when baseless arguments are presented to prove your point to others.
To those living in the 'host' western society and to those who have made it their new home, here are some things to keep in mind:
There are several examples of images and articles we stumble onto on a regular basis which simply don't appeal to our common sense and sensibilities. This is just one image, one article and one viewpoint, I hope would make you rethink you position on where you stand, what you believe in and how you approach those different from yourself.
Photo Credit: Facebook page, Gupshup