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Customs and Culture >
Why are Muslims reluctant to shake hands?

There are two reasons why some Muslims are reluctant to shake hands when greeting another person. Conservatives believe that unrelated men and women should avoid touching each other due to the sexual overtones potentially associated with touching.

Some Muslims, like orthodox Jews, are reluctant to shake hands due to concerns about ritual purity. Traditional Shii believe that non-Muslims are spiritually impure, so that physical contact with a non-Muslim, whether male or female, places the Muslim in a state of ritual impurity. Some Sunni Muslims also believe that non-Muslims are ritually impure, but Sunni do not require ritual purification after coming into physical contact with non-Muslims.

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