Re: To bow or not to bow
We have had several Muslim students in our dojo. Two of them did not bow, some of them did. A yudansha from Morocco came to visit and I was very impressed with his aikido. There was a young Muslim woman who could not practice with men who came to a seminar with women instructors. She and I got by with using jo nage and jo Dori variations on what was taught. I enjoyed it.
I think Ueshiba's art of peace and reconciliation would accomodate a religious proscription. In the USA, IME, most people bow poorly anyway. I think we need ways to help the discussion in our communities and a common activity with a goal of resolution of conflict should be a good idea. Not making contact with the opposite gender is more disruptive to class than not bowing but can be accommodated.