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'I don't shake women's hands'

(847 Posts)
canary1 Thu 08-Feb-18 21:55:06

In a work setting today, a client was seen by four colleagues, 2 male, 2 female. The client shook hands with the two male colleagues at the end, and when I held my hand out in expectation, this is what he said. I know many muslims and never ran into this before, though this is his reason. I'm disgusted at such overt sexism dressed up as religion. I can't say that's just his beliefs any more than I can excuse any other overt discriminatory behaviour. How is this regarded as an acceptable way to behave?

Alison100199 Thu 08-Feb-18 21:58:25

Totally unacceptable and offensive. What did you do?

Charismam Thu 08-Feb-18 21:59:11

I'd love to be able to say ''I don't do business with misogynists'' but I'm sure you're not allowed. I'd leave your colleagues to take on that work and find something else to do.

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Thu 08-Feb-18 21:59:48

Did he say it was because of his religion? He ought to just not shake anyone's hand if he doesn't want to shake everyone's.

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Thu 08-Feb-18 22:00:25

Oh sorry misread your post blush what did the others say?!

FrogsLegs32 Thu 08-Feb-18 22:01:28

But it is a religious thing.

He has as much right as anyone not to shake hands with whoever he chooses

Littlefish Thu 08-Feb-18 22:02:15

We had an Ofsted Inspector who wouldn't shake anyone's hand. I presume it was for religious reasons that he couldnt/didn't want to shake women's hands, but it was more appropriate not to shake anyone's hands.

sunshineintheclouds Thu 08-Feb-18 22:02:55

It is out of respect for his wife.
Many Muslims do this.

ocelot41 Thu 08-Feb-18 22:02:57

The only person I have ever met in the UK who said that before is now under arrest for inviting terrorism. It's pretty out there, although I think a bit more common in the Gulf?

counterpoint Thu 08-Feb-18 22:03:21

Extremely offensive behaviour.

Since this is in an employment situation, your bosses should turn him down as a client rather than condone sexism against their staff.

What did your male colleagues do?

AlbertaSimmons Thu 08-Feb-18 22:03:51

I’ve had the opposite of this. Exchanged air kiss greetings with two people who came for a meeting but didn’t offer to kiss the Muslim man, not wanting to offend or put him in an awkward position. He was having none of it, laughed and said “What about me?” We were firm friends after that, but others in his association wouldn’t shake my hand. I don’t find it offensive myself tbh.

newyearsameme80 Thu 08-Feb-18 22:04:33

This is a tricky one. Definitely would come across better if he didn’t shake hands with anyone - could do a sort of bow thing instead. It would also matter to me how he sounded and the words he used when saying no.

HLBug Thu 08-Feb-18 22:05:02

This once happened to me with a Rabbi - refused to shake my hand because I was unmarried. My boss couldn't see why I was upset hmm

SusanBunch Thu 08-Feb-18 22:05:04

He has as much right as anyone not to shake hands with whoever he chooses

Sorry but that is rubbish. What if I openly said I don't shake hands with gay people or with black people? Have I got 'as much right as anyone' not to shake hands with whoever I choose?

olympicsrock Thu 08-Feb-18 22:05:16

I’m a female doctor and had this from an elderly male patient. He wouldn’t shake my hand but was happy for me to examine him in a fairly intimate way - I did offer to find a male colleague but he said it was fine.

AnnaMagnani Thu 08-Feb-18 22:05:20

Many Muslims do this. I've worked with female Muslims who wouldn't shake men's hands, who wore hijab, modest dress but were probably more radfem than you.

Wouldn't bother me.

lecossaise Thu 08-Feb-18 22:05:45

Not all Muslims have the same beliefs. I don't see any reason why he should have to touch anyone he doesn't want to.

IveGotBillsTheyreMultiplying Thu 08-Feb-18 22:05:55

I have experienced this many times and just accept it as a religious thing.

SusanBunch Thu 08-Feb-18 22:06:45

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

SmilingButClueless Thu 08-Feb-18 22:06:47

Completely unacceptable.

If he feels he can’t shake women’s hands because of his religion that’s fine, but then he shouldn’t shake men’s hands either. You can’t discriminate like that in the workplace.

newyearsameme80 Thu 08-Feb-18 22:06:49

He has rights based on his religion I don’t know legally how this works whenever there are conflicting rights as there are in this situation.

LEMtheoriginal Thu 08-Feb-18 22:06:58

If he is a Muslim and is doing this for religious reasons then I can't see a problem. To me as a non Muslim I don't know why they don't shake women's hands but I certainly wouldn't be offended.

RaininSummer Thu 08-Feb-18 22:07:02

At my daughters graduation, it was explained that anybody not wanting to shake hands needed to carry their programme in front. There were about half of the presumably Muslim women, as they were wearing hijab, who did this. In the situation of OP it does seem rude as surely doing business in the uk you should follow custom as we would be encouraged to do ourselves when abroad.

OlennasWimple Thu 08-Feb-18 22:07:17

This is unacceptable. As pp say, the proper approach is to not shake hands with anyone, rather than refuse to shake hands with a woman.

If your religion requires you to discriminate in such a way that you are able to perform basic social niceties, your religion is wrong IMHO

Growingboys Thu 08-Feb-18 22:07:27

Disgraceful behaviour

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