Monday, April 02, 2007

New Kuwaiti Education Minister Takes Oath without Veil Despite Islamist Opposition

Kuwait's new education minister was greeted by protests as she took the oath of office, after she refused to wear a headscarf in parliament. A number of MPs shouted and jeered as Nuria al-Sbeih, Kuwait's second female cabinet member, completed her oath.
Reforms in May 2005 gave women the right to vote and run for office, but the law requires them to abide by unspecified Islamic rules. Many Kuwaiti women wear the veil, but Islamic dress is not mandatory. (Source: BBC News)

Commentary: It is a sad fact that many Muslims, male and female, continue to confuse personal piety with a head scarf (hijab) and/or the "face covering" (niqab) or even the cape-like Iranian chador or the Afghan/Pakistani all-enveloping burqa. Personal piety cannot be equated with 36 square-inches of cloth. Bravo to Minister Nuria al-Sbeih for rejecting the calls of those in the Kuwaiti parliament whose understandings of Islam and religious piety are so shallow.

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