LBC and female police officer

I was interviewed by Nick Farari of the LBC this morning about the female Muslim police officer who refused to shake hands with Sir Ian Blair. Nick was under the impression that this officer would not be able to do her job effectively if she refused to come in direct contact with people of the opposite sex. What a bizarre assumption. The issue is very simple – she has the right to make that choice in social settings, no matter how rude it is shaking her bosses hand does not form part of her police duties. However in her job it would be unacceptable if she refused to help someone just because that person was of the opposite sex. In fact Islamic principles would require her to do her job well, save lives at all cost and help people whoever they are. Many people called in to condemn my view and the female police officer and Nick was equally vociferous in his condemnation. Obvious points were thrown around such as what would she do if she needed to give someone of the opposite sex a mouth to mouth resuscitation? She will give it stupid! That’s her job! How bizarre…..I thought we all stood for people’s right to choose or is it “you are free to choose as long as your choice does not clash with mine”? After that brief encounter with Nick and his callers I was left feeling rather bemused by their double standards. She has the full right to choose whose hand she shakes and whose she does not. What is even more interesting is that Ali Desai has now joined the bandwagon in condemning the poor female police officer. I have gathered from various sources including the statement from the Police force that states “this request was only granted by members of training staff out of a desire to minimise any disruption to others’ enjoyment and to ensure the smooth running of what is one of the most important events in an officer’s career.” The lady is question made a request to not shake Sir Ian’s hand as it was a social occasion and was not necessary for her job. What was Ali Desai complaining about? Let us wake up and smell the coffee – no matter how uncomfortable it may be, it is part of our British culture that we accept people for who they are with all their different beliefs and faiths, customs and traditions as long as it does not put anyone at risk or cause harm. To those who are drumming up the hysteria that such differences indicate clash of values and as cause for concern, grow up and learn to live with it.

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