Hanson slams Muslim schoolboy ban on shaking women's hands
IS this still Australia?
That's the sentiment on Pauline Hanson's Please Explain Facebook page right now as people react angrily to news that Muslim schoolboys are being allowed to refuse to shake hands with women.
At a recent awards ceremony at Hurstville Boys Campus of Georges River College, female presenters were told by one of the two principals that some students would not shake their hands because of their Muslim faith, The Australian reported.
The boys were instead permitted to place a hand across their chest to show they would not be taking the hand of the women, many of them well-known figures from the local community.
A spokesman from the NSW Department of Education said this was an "agreed protocol" developed after extensive consultation with staff, parents and boys at the small, diverse public school of 354 students from year 7-10.
"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," the spokesman said.
"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.
"Principals are best placed to know the needs of their local school communities when implementing this requirement."
The practice reportedly comes from the Islamic hadith teaching that states: "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."
But senior Islamic figures questioned the strict literal interpretation of the hadith that forbids people from touching anyone of the opposite sex apart from a spouse or family member.
President of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils Keysar Trad told news.com.au the hadith was intended to help women avoid "unwelcome overtures or touch".
Whatever the case, news of the ruling has outraged One Nation supporters.
Alena Skipper wrote: "I love the way all the lefties have gone completely quiet... what about womens rights and being treated as an equal...? this is disgusting." - a sentiment Pauline Hanson backed completely.
Pam Martin wrote: "No way. It is the custom in this country to shake hands with both males and females. Once again we are bowing to the pressure of another religion. When in Rome do as the Romans do or get out."
Leeanne Bloom said it was "beyond ridiculous!"
"Why do we have to recognise their faith but they do not have to recognise ours?"
Rob Milnes said such values were inappropriate in Australia.
"I do not support this. Australia is an equal,secular society. This promotes some kind of view that women are less equal or dirty.
"People who promote and support this kind of view should not be here in Australia. Worse that it's in an Australian public school. If this is what Sharia is all about, then Jacque Lambie, Pauline, Dick Smith are right. All are equal in the eyes of God, or Allah, are they not?"
Elizabeth Sue wrote: "I work closely with many Muslim families and in the time no male or female has refused to shake my hand. But in saying that, the education system has already stripped the discipline out of schools. Might as well take away what is left of respectful behaviour."
Craig Claxton was among those calling for their government funding.
"Let them chase 100% of their funding from the halal council. Then redistribute the funding to an inclusive equal opportunity Australian value public school.
"Political correctness is one thing but creating special rules like this encourages religious intolerance and entitlement by minorities. It's absolutely ridiculous."