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-Believe it or Not—“Hello” and “Good Morning” May be Offensive

by Dr. D ~ July 4th, 2009

(Picture via Wikipedia)

Here’s the case of a gentleman in Toronto, Canada that was censured by his landlady for saying “hello” and “good Morning” to his neighbors. The offended folks in this case were Muslims and the husband did not think it was proper for his neighbor to even look at his wife much less verbally greet her. The outraged husband threatened him and even filed a complaint with the apartment managers:

When the landlady of my Toronto apartment building said an outraged neighbor had filed a complaint about me over an apparently inappropriate hallway interaction with his wife, my mind raced through the countless conversations I’ve had with fellow tenants, none of which seemed a possible source of offense.

It turns out, it wasn’t a salacious transaction that had caused the complaint, but rather a neighborly and — to me — entirely forgettable greeting, little more than a brief "good morning" as I passed my neighbors on the way to work.

Still, it was enough of an affront for the man — once a doctor somewhere in the Middle East, my landlady clarified — to feel I had broken a cultural taboo. The incident started an awkward feud which has involved warnings not to repeat my indiscretion and one face-to-face shouting match, which included allusions to my impending death.

Response: This is another one of those cases where Muslim immigrants are demanding that the dominant culture be changed to reflect their own cultural and religious taboos. All are free to practice their religion in the Western nations and as much as possible we should accommodate people with diverse religious beliefs and practices.

However, every once in a while we read articles about Muslims who are offended by regular folks in the coarse of their everyday work. Muslim taxicab drivers who refuse to pickup folks that have been drinking (which is one reason people call a cab in the first place), Checkers at stores like Wal-Mart who refuse to handle pork products, doctors or dentists who refuse to treat woman not wearing hijabs, Bookstore people who refuse to handle a Bible, plant workers who demand time out for prayers, and etc. Some issues can be easily resolved and accommodated but some just can’t.

If religious folks are so offended by the general culture and normal neighborly greetings as in this case, then they should think seriously about moving to a neighborhood or country where they would be more comfortable—one which better reflects their own traditions and culture.             *Top 

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