Monday, February 16, 2009

Saner Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has made moves to stem the tide of extremist Sunni rule in the country. He dismissed both the chief of the country’s oppressive religious police and a cleric who infamously called for the murder of TV executives who allow the broadcast of “immoral” content. Abdullah also appointed female deputy minister, which makes her the highest ranking female Saudi official in history. Saudi Arabia is ruled by a sort of triumvirate of religious clerics, a huge royal family, and the king himself. That Abdullah has been able to make such sweeping moderate gestures is a sign that he has broad support across all groups. Of course, the country still has a theocratic authority with law enforcement powers and an unelected monarchy. Still, progress is progress. Maybe in a few years, married Saudi women will be able to look at men who aren’t their husbands without fear of reprisal. Here’s hoping! More details here.

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