King Abduallah of Saudi Arabia has a sense of what is transpiring in the world although his nation’s religious leaders still prefer inhabiting the word of the 15th century when all was good and women knew their place–submit to men. The King weakened the hold of Islamic hardliners by appoiinting the first woman to a ministerial post and dismissed a leading fundamentalist cleric and the head of the nation’s powerful religious police. He apparently is frustrated with the pace of reform and moving Saudi Arabia into the 21st century where it is necessary to draw upon the talents of all members of society, including women. Abdullah dismissed Sheik Ibrahim al-Ghaith, head of the Commission of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which has adopted a position that leaves women at the mercy of religious police in the course of their everyday lives.
Noura al-Fayez was elevated to the new post of deputy minister of women’s education. The women’s education ministry had a reputation of being corrupt and incompetent. Abduallah is most probably going to bring into the government more moderate and open minded clerics.