Indonesian Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring is in the midst of a political crisis over a handshake. Sembiring is a conservative Muslim who often blames natural disasters on a lack of morality and avoids any contact with females outside his family. Then it happened on camera. A smiling Sembiring shaking the hand of first lady Michele Obama. It is enough to send a religious nut into a fetal position. The result has been an insistence that Michele Obama was the hand aggressor — effectively grabbing his hand to his disgust and alarm. The pictures seems to belie the defense — showing a smiling Sembiring who appears to grab the First Lady’s hand.
Sembiring insists “I tried to prevent (being touched) with my hands but Mrs. Michelle held her hands too far toward me (so) we touched.” This is part of a Twitter and Facebook discussion with alarmed conservative Muslims over touching a woman’s hand. It is being portrayed as a virtual assault on an unsuspecting Sembiring who found himself in the grips of an aggressive American woman.
Sembiring has previously blamed AIDS and even natural disasters on pornography. He has also quoted Adolph Hitler on Twitter.
If one wants to avoid such a frightening encounter, one might start by avoiding the handshake line.