Indonesia: Michelle Obama’s handshake with conservative Muslim raises Indonesian eyebrows

Oh, that “moderate” Indonesia, where the Minister of Information boasts of not giving his hand to women not belonging to his family (wouldn’t be interested in any case… ):

Indonesia’s pious information minister, Tifatul Sembiring, is in hot water for touching the hand of First Lady Michelle Obama, in what he describes as forced contact. The politician flaunts his conservatism as a Muslim and claims to avoid touching women who aren’t family members, the Associated Press reports. 

Indonesia — which has the world’s largest Islamic population, the vast majority moderate — had been debating how to handle encounters between the first lady and observant Muslim officials far in advance of the Obamas’ arrival in the country Monday.

Sembiring sought to deflect criticism by claiming Tuesday’s skin-to-skin contact was all Michelle Obama’s fault. “I tried to prevent [being touched] with my hands but Mrs. Michelle held her hands too far toward me [so] we touched,” Tifatul Sembiring explained on his Twitter page (according to a translation provided in the AP report).

Some local observers laughed at that idea, and one female reporter gleefully said he wouldn’t be able to avoid shaking her hand anymore, AP reported.

via First lady’s handshake with conservative Muslim raises Indonesian eyebrows | The Upshot Yahoo! News.

Obama with the head covered

Meanwhile, Obama has doneMuslim outreach in Indonesia“, visiting a mosque. The interesting thing is that he didn’t go to the Golden Temple of the Sikhs because “he didn’t want to cover his head while in the Temple“. Was that an excuse because of the ancient enmity between Muslims and Sikhs?

Why Obama does a “Muslim outreach” but not a “Sikh outreach”? ❓

Of course, about the daily persecution on non-Muslims, nothing has been said, although Obama has insisted that “Islam has been hijacked by some extremists”… with the inestimable help of some Governments, including “moderate” ones, such as Indonesian:

CAUTION: THE VIDEO HAS IMAGES THAT CAN HURT YOUR SENSIBILITY. WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK.

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Anglican Church: Williams on burqa ban, secularism and Europe

Rowan Williams

Episcopal Life Online – WORLD REPORT:

“Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has deplored attempts by governments in Europe to prohibit Muslim women from publicly wearing the burqa, a garment that covers the entire body.

Governments should have better things to do than ban the burqa,’ Williams, the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, told an interfaith meeting organized by the National Council of Churches in India at its headquarters in Nagpur, during a visit to India.

…”I believe that the state ought not to be addressing issues like these. Instead, it should leave such concerns to the religious communities,” stated Williams at the Oct. 14 meeting in Nagpur. He described the French ban as “a sign of being overanxious.”

More than 100 church leaders, led by the NCCI’s president, Methodist Bishop Taranath Sagar, and Bishop Purely Lyngdoh, moderator of the Church of North India, attended the meeting alongside Muslims and Sikhs, and members of the Hindu community.

We are glad that the archbishop spoke out clearly on the burqa controversy. He is very objective and respects other faiths,” A. Majid Parekh, a Muslim leader in Nagpur, told ENInews after listening to the Anglican leader.

Williams told ENInews that the controversy generated by bans on the burqa, the Sikh turban and the Christian cross in some European countries, “shows the extension of secularism too far. This ought to be resisted. The communities should have the right to decide on such issues.” Williams said he had protested when a British Airways employee was told she should not wear her necklace cross visibly while at work.

He told the meeting that attacks against migrants in Europe were not the result of Christian prejudice against non-Christians but a “crude nationalist prejudice against migrants and outsiders.”

On the link between religions and terrorism, the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion said that terrorism is a product of “bad” religion. “The positive affirmation of faith in God and respect for one another is the solution for it,” he stated.”