17 January 2007

Olé for the Spanish justice minister

Earlier this week, Spanish Justice Minister Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar struck a blow for women straight at the academic heart of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi Islam. Scheduled to deliver a lecture at Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, the minister cancelled when he discovered visiting women journalists were to be banned from attending, even if wearing the traditional black abaya and veil.

Ethically, of course, any justice minister worth his salt could hardly do less. A brutal dictatorship that cruelly 0ppresses women is hardly a respectable venue for a politician who purports to represent justice. Nonetheless, Lopez Aguilar deserves full credit for making his very public statement against the rampant misogyny of the benighted Saudi regime.

Ironically, the minister's lecture was to be on terrorism, a subject women in Saudi Arabia might be particularly interested in.

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