Invited to a World Tourism Organisation conference in Bali in 1993, I was refused admission at the door because I was wearing trousers. Not just any old trousers mind you, but a linen trouser suit, the height of fashion at the time, the end result being that I did not attend because I had brought no dresses on the long flight from London!
Now I’m appalled to learn that the well known Sudanese journalist Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein is to be flogged for wearing trousers in a restaurant in Khartoum. And that women whipped earlier this month included some from theChristian south where the Muslim north’s sharia law does not apply.
Sudan is not high on most people’s lists as a holiday destination, but potential women visitors should take heed. Remember, too, the fate of the British teacher Gillian Gibbons, who was arrested in 2007 for calling a toy bear by the common Arab name of Muhammad.
Is it any wonder that regimes such as that of the Sudanese dictator Oman al-Bashir give Islam a bad name? His punishment should be to be brought to London to see the shortest of shorts being worn this summer. Perhaps he would suffer a heart attack when the world would have one criminal less.
c.Christine Osborne: former editor Two Niles/Sudan Airways flight magazine.Image: Scene in Omdurman, SudanSource: www.copix.co.uk