Indonesian minister says he was “forced” to shake Michelle Obama’s hand

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

LONDON - An Indonesian politician, who is a staunch Muslim, has taken to Twitter to claim that he was “forced” to shake hands with US First Lady Michelle Obama.

Tifatul Sembiring, 49, who is the country’s information minister, had earlier claimed that as a Muslim he avoids touching women who are not related to him.

And so when photos of him shaking hands with Michelle emerged, and he came under attack, he took to Twitter to announce that it had been a forced contact and that it was all her fault.

“I tried to prevent being touched with my hands but Mrs. Michelle held her hands too far toward me so we touched,” the Daily Mail quoted Sembiring as tweeting.

But clippings on YouTube show otherwise, and it has sparked a huge Internet debate.

In footage of the official welcome, Sembiring appeared to share his countrymen’s enthusiasm. He smiled broadly as he shook the president’s hand and then reached with both hands to grasp Michelle’s.

When Indonesians noted the handshake and questioned his long-standing claims that, as a good Muslim, he restricts his contact with women, Sembiring had no other choice but to blame it on the First Lady. (ANI)

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