UoA Professor Loses Job over Handshake

Dieuwe de Boer

When I wrote about the Iranian hand-shake affair, I was not expecting to be revisiting this topic so quickly, but this story about a senior staff member being fired from the University of Auckland caught my attention.

The incident took place a year ago, but only now has a memo been sent out to all staff by vice-chancellor Stuart McCutcheon:

He did this knowing that she would consider it culturally or religiously inappropriate to have physical contact with a man who was not a close relative ...

When she declined to shake his hand, he made a complaint of sexual discrimination against her ...

A formal investigation had established his behaviour had amounted to "serious misconduct" ...

However, I believe it is important for all members of our community to understand that such behaviours have no place in the University and that if they do occur I will not hesitate to authorise appropriate investigatory and disciplinary procedures.

Whether or not the close proximity of the release of this story to that of the Iranian affair is intentional or not, I don't know. It probably isn't a bad idea to try to bury it in with a similar story or release it after that story has tested the waters a little. The outcome of the Iranian affair was the left taking a united stand in defense of Islam, against a western woman. This is where the "social hierarchy" that is employed by the left comes in. There are many different categories, based on biology and identity, but we will merely look at the three that come into play here:

  1. Muslim > infidel
  2. Darker skin > lighter skin
  3. Woman > man

The Iranian affair was more controversial, because while the the Labour MP had the advantage of being a woman, the Iranian ambassador had more points than her because he was a Muslim and had slightly darker skin. This Auckland University case won't get very much attention as it's an easy case to close, because while we're not told about skin tones, the other categories are clear: the infidel man has no points compared to the young Muslima.

It appears this professor was trying out this little experiment for himself, as his pursuit of a discrimination case against her seems to show. He was probably wanting to use it to prove a point after he lost. Little did he know that taking on Islam can be life threatening, and he was lucky enough to get away with only the loss of his job. He's learned the hard way that, like tolerance and cultural respect, discrimination is a one-way street.

The NZ Herald went on to bat for Islam by attaching a promotional video from "Talk To Islam" to clarify the issue, show us how great Islam is. The presenter tells us this handshake business is all about "modesty, humility, and chastity" and a "form of respect towards the other person by showing them that no one has the right to touch them except for their nearest and dearest."

This propaganda is easy to debunk of course. For instance, it's completely halal for cousins to shake hands, even when they're eligible for marriage. Bye, bye, chastity. Modesty and humility? Men can shake hands without restriction, so only women must be modest and humble in Islam? OK, fine, maybe that part is true.

The second justification accidentally gets a little closer to the truth. The premise is still bogus, after all, you have the right to refuse a handshake in the west, it's just considered rude. The "except" part is the important bit as it touches on Islam's treatment of women as property. Women are the property of the men of their family, and that is why only the men of the family may touch them.