TORONTO (NEWS): In 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad kissed the gloved hands of his elderly teacher at a Teachers’ Day ceremony in Tehran and all hell broke loose, with right-wing Hezbollah paper accusing him of `indecency.’
Poor Ahmadinejad is now under attack by right-wingers and conservatives for a photo of him which shows him consoling the grieving mother of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez with a hug at the funeral of the late leader in Caracas.
The picture went viral on Facebook and Twitter. “Islamic law forbids the touching of unrelated men and women. The reaction from religious circles was swift,’ says Al-Monitor which details all the news about Iran.
Hojat al-Islam Hossein Ibrahimi, member of Society of Militant Clergy of Tehran, said, “In relation to what is allowed (halal) and what is forbidden (haram) we know that no unrelated women can be touched unless she is drowning at sea or needs (medical) treatment.” He warned the Guardian Council, which vets potential candidates in Iran’s elections, to investigate a candidate’s religious understanding “because someone who doesn’t know religion will make what is allowed forbidden and what is forbidden allowed.” But it is the same Guardian Council’ that had approved Ahmadinejad’s candidacy for the president in 2005.
Conservative member of parliament Seyyed Mohammad Pourfatemi wanted to “confront seriously and condemn the president’s latest actions and not allow him to do what as he pleases when it comes to infringing Islamic laws.”
Esfahan Friday prayer leader and Ahmadinejad critic Hojat al-Islam Mohammad Taghi Rahbar said that the actions of the president “are far from the status of a Muslim.”
Iranian media coverage of Ahmadinejad’s embrace not only received extensive coverage but was filled with controversy and accusations of competing media outlets.
It is reported that when supporters of the president saw the photo, they “first contacted inside (Iranian) media…to prevent the publication of the picture.’’
Unsuccessful, Shabakeye Iran, the online version of Iran Newspaper, which is under the management of the administration, quickly came to the president’s defense. Shabakeye Iran claimed that the president had attempted to “put his hands together and raise them in the manner of people from East Asia.”
The site published a series of photos of Ahmadinejad greeting different women in a similar gesture as below. This time however, according to Shabakeye Iran, Chavez’s “grieving mother, with tears coming down from her eyes, suddenly put her hands on top of his.”
(Compiled from different sources)