Reform

Saudi Arabia's First Female Minister

Women may not be able to drive in Saudi Arabia, but now at least they can govern their own education. The Telegraph reports that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has appointed the country's first female minister and sacked two notorious religious hardliners in a reshuffle intended to send a message of reform. Norah al-Faiz, an American-educated official, is now deputy education minister in charge of a new department for female students, a post that was formerly under the purview of religious authorities and not the education department. "We've always suffered from having a man occupy the post," she said. Sheikh Ibrahim al-Ghaith, the deeply unpopular head of the brutal "Mutawwa" religious police that prevent vice, has been fired, as has the head of the Saudi judiciary, Sheikh Ibn al-Luhaydan, who issued a fatwa last year saying that it was okay to murder owners of TV stations broadcasting "immoral" content. King Abdullah also appointed a new head of the Saudi central bank and other members of the judiciary.