Princess Kate took 'no offence' in greeting mixup at London mosque

Princess Kate took 'no offence' in greeting mixup at London mosque
The Princess of Wales took no offence to a Muslim community member putting his hand over his heart, instead of shaking her hand, and understands the cultural norms behind it, despite right-wing outrage.
3 min read
10 March, 2023
The royals have been briefed on cultural norms, that many Muslims prefer not to touch the opposite sex, as a sign of respect [Getty]

Princess Catherine of Wales took no offence to a Muslim community member's decision to not shake hands with her at a London mosque, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told The New Arab.

A community member at the Hayes Muslim Centre put his hand over his heart instead of shaking the princess' hand when she visited the centre alongside Prince William on Thursday. Many muslims prefer not to touch the opposite sex as a sign of respect.

The royals visited the mosque to thank community members involved in Turkey-Syria earthquake aid efforts. The royal had been briefed on cultural norms ahead of the visit, according to the palace spokesperson.

However, right-wing activists slammed the man's move as "arrogant", prompting others to blast their "Islamophobic" takes in response.

"Many muslim men place their hand over their heart rather than touch a woman that’s not their family," British solicitor Nazir Afzal tweeted, condemning the "fake rage".

Activists questioned whether or not the royal couple were briefed beforehand on such cultural intricacies, stating "racists will jump on anything to attack the Muslim community".

"Questions need to be ask if William and Kate were briefed beforehand about the cultural difference and if not why not,” Journalist Lorraine King said.

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Some labelled the Muslim man a "typical rude ungrateful Muslim", as others said the princess – who donned the hijab head-covering for her visit - "should have whipped that rag of her head and walked away".

At the event, the man who politely refused the princess' handshake later recited passages from the Quran for the guests, seen in a video posted to the Hayes Muslim Centre's Facebook page.

The centre raised over £25,000 for an appeal launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee for the quakes, through bucket collections and other donations after prayers, according to Vogue Arabia.

The devastating Turkey-Syria quakes on 6 February killed over 52,000 people, as damage equated to $5.1 billion in Syria, and $34.2 in Turkey, according to the World Bank.

The New Arab have contacted Hayes Muslim Centre for comment.