12:06 GMT +330 April 2017
Live
    German Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen talks to journalists prior to the start of an European Union Defence Ministers' meeting at the EU Council in Brussels on November 17, 2015

    German Defense Minister Refusing to Wear Hijab Causes Saudi Outrage

    © AFP 2017/ THIERRY CHARLIER
    Middle East
    Get short URL
    1655185418713

    Controversy arose after German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her entourage refused to wear hijab head coverings or the full length abaya garment while visiting Riyadh last week.

    Von der Leyen said that she "respect[s] the customs and traditions of the country," but added that, "No woman in my delegation will be required to wear the abaya, as the [right] to choose one’s attire is a right shared by men and women equally," according to Iran Front Page

    Her announcement came days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a ban on the burqa head covering in Germany.

    During a meeting with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman al Saud, her counterpart in Saudi Arabia, Von der Leyen wore a dark blue suit while al Saud donned the traditional ghutrah head covering and white thobe garment.

    After images of Von der Leyen dressed in European clothing appeared in Saudi News, Saudis tweeted their disdain. Al Bawaba translated one tweet as, "The German Defense Minister: Not wearing the hijab in Saudi was deliberate. This is an insult to Saudi Arabia!"

    The two defense officials discussed Berlin support for training Saudi officers who will be traveling to Germany to study in 2017. Arab News quotes German Embassy official Michael Ohnmacht saying after the meeting, "The talks between Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed and the German minister focused on ways and means to beef up Saudi-German cooperation in different areas including high-level exchanges, personnel education and training, defense, mutual visits and security affairs." 

    There was a popular similar response in the Saudi twitterverse after US First Lady Michelle Obama did not don a hijab while visiting Riyadh with her husband, US President Barack Obama, for the funeral of King Abdullah.

    Hashtags #Michelle_Obama_Immodest and Michelle_Obama_NotVeiled trended briefly on Twitter, and some members of the all-male Saudi delegation shook the first lady’s hand while others merely nodded while walking past her.

    Related:

    In a Saudi Desert, Waterfalls Are Made of Sand!
    Boris’ Saudi Gaffe Gets a Pie in the Face
    Department of Defense Approves $3.5Bln Sale of Cargo Copters to Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Aggression Against Yemen Contributed to Development of Daesh, al-Qaeda
    Six Pakistani Sailors Killed, Six Unaccounted For After Saudi Airstrike in Yemen
    Tags:
    burqa, hijab, Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, Ursula von der Leyen, Saudi Arabia, Riyadh
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik
    • Сomment