Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad finds himself in yet another controversy after pictures — both real and doctored — showed him comforting family members of the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
One photograph, which showed Ahmadinejad embracing Chazez’s grieving mother at Friday’s funeral, set off a firestorm back in Iran.
The image shows Ahmadinejad holding the hands of Elena Frias de Chavez, 78, and their faces appear to be touching. Muslim men are traditionally not allowed to touch women who are not family members.
Religious conservative critics complained that Ahmadinejad behaved inappropriately for the president of an Islamic state and committed a “haram” — a term used to describe a forbidden act under Islam.
Mohammad Taghi Rahbar, the Friday prayer leader of Iran’s second city, Isfahan, said Ahmadinejad had “lost control”.
“Shaking hands with a non-mahram [unrelated by family] woman, under any circumstances, whether young or old, is not allowed. Hugging…
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