So petty tyrannical spiteful controlling interfering clerics get their way and yet another woman is prevented from working, living her life, having ordinary grown-up interactions, having fun, expressing joy and exuberance. The world is made just a little safer for narrowness and deprivation and general nothingness.

Pakistan’s Minister of Tourism has handed in her resignation after coming under criticism from a hardline Islamist cleric for hugging her parachute instructor after completing a jump in France, an official said on Tuesday. Nilofar Bakhtiar, one of three women ministers in the Pakistani cabinet, made the parachute jump in March to raise money for victims of an earthquake that killed 73,000 people in Pakistan in October 2005. Shortly afterwards, Pakistani newspapers published a photograph of her giving her para-jumping instructor a hug, and a pro-Taliban cleric issued a decree calling on the government to sack her for “obscenity”.

To people who think like that, everything women do is obscene; women themselves are obscene; their mere unconcealed existence is obscene. They scream obscenity from every pore. Every hair follicle, every joint, every muscle, every flake of skin is throbbing and dripping and shuddering with obscenity; every sound, every movement, every inhalation and exhalation; every thought, every act, every word; it’s all, all steeped in sex and filth and obscenity. There are not enough hours in the day for them to persecute and punish women for being so obscene. But they do what they can.

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