The Marine colonel supervising government reconstruction in Najaf, Iraq, indefinitely postponed the swearing in of the city’s first-ever female judge after her appointment provoked a wave of resentment, the New York Times reports.
The firestorm was emblematic of the tension between the American desire to leave an imprint on the levers of government in Iraq versus a conservative religious establishment determined to fight what its sees as a military invasion dragging Western cultural norms behind the tanks.
The swearing-in was scheduled for Nidal Nasser Hussein, a 45-year-old lawyer with a history of breaking precedent in Najaf. She was the first female lawyer to begin working here when she started 16 years ago. There are now 50.
Some of the Iraqis protesting the appointment were women, leaving the Americans even more surprised and confounded.