Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Ahmadinijad Accused Of "Indecency"

UPDATE: Check out the new blog covering the Mid East: Outsider On The Inside

While Richard Gere is involved in a ridiculous kissing controversy with hardliners in India, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinjad has found himself in a similar situation at home:
TEHRAN -- Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood accused of "indecency" Wednesday after he publicly embraced and kissed on the hand an elderly woman who used to be his schoolteacher.

At a ceremony Tuesday ahead of Iranian teachers' day, Ahmadinejad was photographed and filmed by state media stooping to kiss the woman's hand and then clasping her arms in an embrace.

"The Muslim Iranian people have no recollection of such acts contrary to Sharia law during Islamic rule," since the 1979 revolution, seethed the ultraconservative Hezbollah newspaper on its front page.

"This type of indecency progressively has grave consequences, like violating religious and sacred values," added the paper, which has no link to the Lebanese militant group of the same name.

Ahmadinijad has received similar criticism in the past for saying that women should be allowed to attend football games, showing that although he's perceived as an ultraconservative, there are elements even more fundamental than him in the country:
The elderly woman, who was not named, wore thick gloves along with a headscarf and long black coat, meaning that Ahmadinejad avoided any skin contact.

However, his action raised eyebrows. According to Sharia law, it is forbidden for a man to have any physical contact with a woman to whom he is not related.


"This astonishing act by the president comes as the faithful have yet to forget his decision to allow women to watch football," noted the Hezbollah newspaper.

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