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What Thinking Australians Are Thinking. This first one nails it….
Imagine the uproar if anyone publicly refused to shake hands with a Muslim.
Brian Whybrow, Waniassa, ACT
The NSW Education Department and the Hurstville Boys Campus, with their cowardly policy of appeasement of cultural minorities, have eroded the equal rights of all Australian women (“Muslim public schoolboys ‘excused’ from shaking hands with women”, 20/2). With the flick of a pen, they’ve ridden roughshod over everything feminists fought for. If these organisations are so eager to please those who might be offended by modern Western values, the question now begs: are female staff members required to “cover up”? Are homosexual teachers permitted to set foot on this campus? We’re in for a backward, fractured nation.
Ellie Savory, Mt Hawthorn, WA
Today’s front-page headline highlights Islam’s contempt for women and Australian culture. It’s time we took a stand. It is our culture that must be respected: that includes respect for women, and uncovered faces.
Phil Tucker, Tweed Heads, NSW
This school principal needs to understand that his first priority is to educate his pupils. These boys are living in Australia, no matter what their racial or religious heritage. They need to be educated to fit in with society. It is not up to society to be made aware of the myriad differences in culture, religion and social practices that accompany immigrants to our country. The NSW Education Minister must stamp down on this divisive policy.
Helen Knight, Wherrol Flat, NSW
Offering an open palm to another carries the unspoken statement: “I have no weapons” — hence the use of the right hand or arm, the predominant “sword” carrier. Shaking hands is a sign of mutual respect. Refusal to accept another’s hand is, in our Christian society, a none-too-veiled insult.
The Education Department and the school principal show their appalling ignorance and disrespect for the right of women to be treated as equals. Until we all, no matter what gender, race, colour or creed, are more inclusive and respectful of the rights of others, we will not live in harmony.
Bruce Stewart, Jane Brook WA
That a state education system would condone and be apologists for blatant misogyny under the guise of cultural or religious sensitivity beggars belief. Where are the feminist sisters otherwise so vocal about transgressions, real or otherwise, by conservative, white men?
John McLeod, Sunshine Coast, Qld
It must be April Fools’ Day I thought when I read your report. But then I read a NSW Education Department statement defending the school’s action. How can a Coalition state government tolerate such nonsense uttered in its name? There is surely a point at which promotion of diversity undermines the whole idea of an Australian community? And, if a non-handshake policy is the thin end of a sharia-like wedge, that point has surely arrived. As Jennifer Oriel eloquently writes, a tolerant and secular Australia has no need of a sharia law that was inexcusable in medieval times, let alone today (“Sharia, a Dark Ages death sentence”, 20/2).
John Kidd, Auchenflower, Qld
If anyone doubts why Pauline Hanson is getting votes, they need look no further. To suggest our mothers, sisters, wives and aunts are untouchable is the ultimate insult and should never be tolerated in our society, far less in our schools. I understand respect for others’ religious beliefs, but that respect is a two way-street, and all women should be sacrosanct and not treated with disrespect by youths still wet behind the ears.
David J Syme, Mollymook Beach, NSW
The Australian placed the shocking story about Muslim schoolboys on the front page. Thank goodness for that! Australia will not be safe until people of all backgrounds and sexes are required to shake hands. No more bowing, cheek-kissing, saluting or any of that nonsense in Australia. The Australian is obviously focused on the big national issues.
Michael Plummer, Watson, ACT
Is Jennifer Oriel being deliberately inflammatory in referring to Mohammed as misogynistic, or simply forgetting that at the time most cultures would have adhered to similar ideas re the status of women, including Christian ones?
Bernice Rawlings, UK