Saudi woman becomes deputy minister

King Abdullah hands Norah al-Faiz control of women's education in reshuffle.

    The reshuffle was the first by King Abdullah since he succeeded his half-brother in 2005 [AFP]

    Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Humain was appointed as the new head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice which controls the religious police, replacing Sheikh Ibrahim al-Ghaith.

    The police have wide powers to search for alcohol, drugs and prostitution, ensure shops are closed during prayer times and maintain the system of sexual segregation in Saudi society.

    'Turning point'

    The reshuffle, King Abdullah's first since he took power following the the death of his half-brother in 2005, also saw new education, justice and information ministers appointed.

    "This is a turning point. It is the biggest change that happened in this country in 20 years," Mohammad al-Zulfa, a member of Saudi Arabia's Shura council, told the AFP news agency.

    "It is a new start for King Abdullah. People are expecting changes," he said. "These are new faces who can bring change."

    The monarch also appointed Abdul-Aziz Khoja, who was previously ambassador to Lebanon, as information minister, replacing Iyad bin Amin Madani, state-run al-Ekhbariya television reported.

    Clerics had often criticised Madani for allowing the local press to take greater liberty in challenging the establishment.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.