I do not want to turn this into a religious discussion but customs from cultures do sometimes seem bizarre to others. I don't know if it is religious or not but it used to be forbidden to wear cloth of 2 different types.
I guess my initial shock was the total lack of awareness or understanding of anything else that took place on the mat-all blurred by the use of a tradition albeit from a different culture.
I do realize, although I have difficulty understanding sometimes, religious beliefs sometimes preclude people from doing things which might be fun if it did not have guilt attached. I guess I just resist Americanizing the art-taking out all of the cultural/ritualistic elements since I feel they are part of what martial arts is all about: teaching respect, courtesy, discipline, etc.
It could very well be this young man did not have any religious issues-I did not ask and only threw them out as one explanation I have seen. Perhaps we should not shake hands either-which to me is a very similar type of courtesy.
Great comments by the way.