The Associated Press website reports today (May 12, 2012) that Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has dismissed a controversial ultraconservative adviser, after he publicly criticized Saudi reforms aimed at easing restrictions on women.
Sheik Abdul-Mohsen al-Obeikan had told a local radio station that officials were working to Westernize and secularize Saudi Arabia's laws by "legalizing taboos."
King Abdullah has irked the country's hardline clerics by easing some restrictions and allowing women to vote and run for office, beginning with the 2015 municipal elections. Women are still not allowed to drive motor vehicles in Saudi Arabia; if caught driving, they may receive many lashes.
The fired adviser, 81, sparked an uproar in 2010, when he said that a woman could be alone -- or even appear without her veil -- in front of an unrelated adult male if he drinks her breast milk, because it establishes a mother-son bond in Islamic tradition.