The governor of Sudan's Khartoum state vowed Saturday to defy a court order suspending his decision to bar women from working as gas station attendants or waitresses.
"I will not abide by any resolution issued by the Constitutional Court with regards to my decision on women's work in certain jobs," Governor Majzoub al-Khalifa Ahmed told reporters.
The governor invited to his press conference a group of Islamists and Muslim scholars who held up copies of the Koran and shouted religious slogans, frequently interrupting Ahmed to praise his defiance of the court ruling.
One freelance journalist was hurriedly rushed out of the hall after he described the Islamic scholars as "lackeys of the Sultan," a phrase that enraged turbaned Islamists who moved rushed toward him shouting, "God is Greatest."
It is unclear whether the journalist, Ammar Ahmed Adam, was snatched by security men or ordinary people who wanted to rescue him from imminent attack.
Adam was earlier given the chance to pose a question and commented that women were forced to work in Sudan because of government policies that have caused skyrocketing prices and the political dismissals or forced military recruitments of their husbands, fathers and brothers.
But the governor defended his ban on women working as gas station attendants and waitresses in restaurants, hotels and cafeterias, saying the decision was made only after thorough study.
Ahmed added that no woman would fall into unemployment, as employers have agreed to find the women jobs that do not involve serving customers.
"We have made sure that no woman will be harmed by the decision," he said.
The Constitutional Court had ordered the suspension of Ahmed's ban while it considered an objection filed by the General Women's Association.
The court said women employees could be "incurably harmed" if they were removed from their jobs and the court later overturned the measure.
"The court hereby orders the police and all other authorities concerned with implementation of the decision issued by the governor not to take any measures against any involved person," the court said, ordering all public and private sector authorities to abide by the order.
Human rights activist Ghazi Suleiman said earlier that the governor could not disobey a Constitutional Court ruling.
"He will simply be charged with contempt of court," Suleiman said -- KHARTOUM (AFP)
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