Lubna Hussein may be the first trouser martyr. She is getting lots of publicity from the BBC for her noble fight in trying to get the law in Northern Sudan changed to allow women to wear trousers lest they fall foul of Sharia and get 40 lashes for wearing such garments. Fair enough, I suppose, although I was intrigued by Ms Hussein’s suggestion that “I want to change this law, because hitting is not human, and also it does not match with Sharia law,” she told the BBC.

Would this be the same Sharia law that mandates the stoning to death of adulterers and hanging of homosexuals, for example? Might this be the same Sharia Law that mandates “honor killings”, that advocates whipping for those who drink and gamble, that allows husbands to hit their wives; that commands that a thief’s hand be cut off? Forty lashes for wearing trousers is harsh but then again when it comes to Sharia, violence and inhumanity are central. Trying to sanitise the sheer awfulness of Islamic law by reducing it to whether trousers may be worn or not seems trivial to me. Maybe Ms Hussein’s employers – the UN – will issue a statement condemning this brutal system or maybe thinking that is just, well, pants?