This is exactly what is meant by the term “creeping sharia” or sharia by stealth. Or if you like death by a thousand cuts. These things tend to present themselves in single file, one at a time so you don’t notice. But combine this single instance with other “single instances” like the defiance and belligerence of not standing in court for the judge or the proliferation of halal branding in your suburban supermarket or the segregation of men and women and you start to get an understanding of how creeping sharia operates.
It’s a clash of cultures, nothing less. Creeping sharia is as insidious as it is incremental and builds the edifice of sharia law one little brick at a time, even over something as seemingly innocuous as shaking hands with the opposite sex.
It’s time for the new Minister for Education, Rob Stokes, Member for Pittwater, to bang some heads together and make it known the the intolerable won’t be tolerated.
“..The instruction is understood to derive from an Islamic hadith — a report describing the words, actions, or habits of the Islamic prophet Mohammed — stating that “it is better to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle than to touch the hand of a woman who is not permissible to you..”
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“…A public school in Sydney’s west has adopted a policy permitting Muslim male students to decline to shake hands with females, despite the practice having been denounced by many senior Islamic figures.
The Hurstville Boys Campus of Georges River College in Sydney recently hosted an awards ceremony at which female presenters, including several accomplished and respected members of the local community, were told by one of the school’s two principals that some students would not shake their hands because of their Muslim faith.
The NSW Education Department has confirmed the school had an “agreed protocol” regarding handshaking and Muslim students.
It was developed following consultation between staff, students and parents.
“At the school’s 2016 presentation day, the principal explained to invited guests making awards that some Muslim students may place their hand across their chest instead of shaking hands,” a NSW Department of Education spokesman said.
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Catering for Years 7-10, the Hurstville Boys Campus is a culturally diverse school, with 87 per cent of students coming from non-English-speaking backgrounds.
The Education Department defended the school’s actions. “The Department of Education requires its schools to recognise and respect the cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds of all students, with the intent to promote an open and tolerant attitude towards a diverse Australian community,” a spokesman said.
“Principals are best placed to know the needs of their local school communities when implementing this requirement.”
Such literal adherence to thehadith in a government school setting has surprised many in the Muslim community, given that many specialist Islamic schools do not have policies that deal with handshaking between the sexes.
Australia’s Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohammed is known to shake hands with women, as did his predecessor, Fehmi Naji El-Imam, and both are understood to consider the particular hadith to be open to interpretation.
Keysar Trad, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, said many Muslim scholars had come to interpret the hadith to be a reference to “unwelcome harassment” that should not be extended to a friendly greeting, such as a handshake.
“That hadith is not clear, but it is not a prohibition,” Mr Trad said. “So, on that basis, I am not going to offend a woman if they offer their hand by not shaking it.”
Former Islamic Council of Victoria secretary Kuranda Seyit, who has worked in several Islamic schools, questioned the practice of teaching strict adherence to the hadith in schools.
“A lot of young students do take it a bit serious — they want to live by the standard they have been taught — and for some young adults, when they meet people of the opposite sex, to shake someone’s hand suggests a friendship,” Mr Seyit said.
“But it can become an issue. In the context of a country like Australia, many people aren’t aware of such a custom.
“You can explain it but you can potentially embarrass people.
“You know that saying ‘don’t leave me hanging’.”
Mr Seyit said some Muslim men were known to place their hand on their heart to send a signal that they did not want to shake hands but a majority of Muslims were comfortable shaking hands with the opposite sex. “But no, it shouldn’t apply in a school context,’’ he said.
“Students should be able to shake hands with the teacher or the principal, or receive a greeting from a visitor to the school.
“Some people take it too seriously.”
Islamic Council of Victoria vice-president Adel Salman said there were mixed views across the community on the issue and he was not aware of any schools that had a policy governing handshaking.
Mr Salman said he was personally happy to shake hands with a woman, however, for those who adhered to the hadith, “the last thing they mean by it is disrespect”. Muslim public schoolboys ‘excused’ from shaking hands with women