Indonesian Minister to Michelle Obama: Keep Your Hands to Yourself

By Elizabeth Weingarten

Once again, Twitter has proved only takes 140 characters to cause a controversy. After allegedly shaking hands with First Lady Michelle Obama, Indonesian Communications Minister and conservative Muslim Tifatul Sembiring tweeted that he reluctantly shook her hand at a Tuesday reception. His discomfort stemmed from his interpretation and observance of Islam: Sembiring doesn't touch female non-relatives.

"I tried to prevent (touching First Lady Obama) with my two hands but Mrs. Michelle moved her hands too close to me, then we touched," he Tweeted on Tuesday. Video footage of the meeting shows Sembiring reaching out to shake her hand.

Now, his commentary has enraged the Indonesian blogosphere: Some say he's lying, and others accuse him of humiliating the moderate and tolerant Muslim country.

Most Twitter users were scathing in their condemnation of the minister.

"Of course, the communications minister is stupid, naive and inconsistent," wrote one.

"It wasn't about shaking hands. It's the lying!!!!" wrote another.

One user wrote: "He's just embarrassing".

Read the full story at the AFP.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/11/indonesian-minister-to-michelle-obama-keep-your-hands-to-yourself/66438/