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Outrage as Lebanese ex-minister says 'spinsters' unsuitable for office

Wiam Wahhab's remarks angered many on social media [Facebook]

Date of publication: 7 May, 2017

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A tweet by Wiam Wahhab led to an outpour of anger after he said unmarried women, using an offensive term that translates as "spinsters", should not be given high-ranking positions.
A tweet by former Lebanese minister Wiam Wahhab has led to an outpour of anger on social media after he said unmarried women should not be given high-ranking positions in the judiciary.

Wahhab tweeted: "I advise the judicial council not to assign Aanisat (offensive Arabic term that translates as 'spinsters') in sensitive positions that puts them in contact with people because the matter then turns into revenge for them – everything proves that, even studies on psychology".

The comments followed the controversial intervention of a prominent female Lebanese government official in the case of an elderly woman who was arrested for building violations.

On Monday 79-year-old Khadija Asaad, attested to be battling cancer, was arrested for contravening the country's building laws after erecting a large tent on the roof of her house in Doueir, south Lebanon.

Having been released on the orders of a district judge, Khadija Asaad was subsequently re-arrested following an appeal by the Governorate Attorney General, Ghada Bou Karroum.

Asaad was eventually released on Friday without having to pay bail after spending four days in Baabda women's prison.

Controversy escalated however when the marital status of the Attorney General Bou Karroum - attested to be unmarried - became the subject of the comments by ex-environmental minister Wahhab.

His remarks angered many on social media, who dismissed his comments as "sexist" and "brazen".

"In an attempt to defend an elderly woman, Wiam Wahhab attacked and humilitared all women and female judges. What a despicable and reactionary politician," Lebanese journalist Diana Moukalled said on Facebook.

"What needs a proper study in the field of psychology is how we Lebanese women are able to put up with arrogant reactionary politicians like you. You can criticise a decision without insulting women you know," one Twitter user said.

"I have no doubt that your wife prefers to have remained unmarried rather than marrying someone who is so closed minded," another Twitter user from Lebanon said.

"If media outlets in Lebanon respect women rights, as they claim to, they should boycott Wiam Wahhab!" a Facebook user urged.

Meanwhile some users reported they were blocked by Wahhab after responding to his tweet.

Wiam Wahhab is a known supporter of the Syrian regime and has previously said he would send his militia to fight rebels across the border.

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