Pop princess Rihanna was asked to leave a Mosque in Abu Dhabi earlier this week. The singer was visiting the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates when she turned her tour and visit into a photo shoot. The Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque is and immense structure can house up to 40,000 visitors and is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the nation.
The songstress wasn’t dressed provocatively during her impromptu photo session. She was dressed in conservative black jumpsuit that covered her head and the majority of her body but some of the shots had her posing with bright red lipstick and gold jewelry. None of the photos taken had any sexual or seductive overtones but UAB government officials still had issue with her presence.
Rihanna, who was visiting Abu Dhabi for her “Diamonds” World Tour, was asked to leave the grounds of the mosque. There were statements released to the press by the director of the mosque that she was removed due to behavior that violated the moral code of the mosque. Some of the pictures that were snapped were also taken in areas of the site that are considered off limits to most visitors.
“The Centre strives to ensure that visitors enter the mosque in a decent fashion, and refrain from behaving in any way that is inconsistent with the sanctity of this religious place,” a statement from the mosque read. “Here, the Centre refers to a recent incident, involving a singer who came for a private visit to the mosque, at a gate that is not reserved for visitors, without prior coordination with the Centre’s management and without identifying herself.”
Reaction online was mixed.
Some saw this as a sign of respect, even going so far as to welcome the singer to the Islamic faith.
asalamu alaykum sister @rihanna i saw pic of u wit a hijab at a mosque does dis mean u are muslim now welcome to islam sister riri
— asma rashid (@billcosbae) October 21, 2013
@rihanna Welcome to Islam sister
— Lamar Snortem (@Zeitandzatar) October 19, 2013
Others, however, saw her actions as a form of cultural appropriation, suggesting that the singer was more interested in making a fashion statement than honouring a place of worship.
“Do you Rihanna not realize this mosque is also the resting place and grave of Sheikh Zayed (God rest his soul in peace)?” wrote a user named caseync under one photograph. “Would you pose for photos like this in a graveyard in any other place? Shame. Really. Where is the respect for the dead.”
“You shouldn’t pose like this next to a mosque,” wrote _kynthia.
justkanisha_ agreed, writing “this is disrespectful, period. She wouldn’t do this outside of a baptist church or a cathedral, so why do that there? It’s ignorant and attention seeking. If she wants to honour the Muslim religion, she would pray and act accordingly.”
— Hassan Ahmed (@imHasaan) October 21, 2013
— Zujajah Islam (@ZujajahI) October 21, 2013
Earlier this month, Rihanna tweeted a photo of herself with a protected species called a slow loris that resulted in Thailand police arresting the creature’s handlers. Not long after, she posted a raunchy tweet that got the owner of a Thai sex club arrested.
On the web:
Rihanna ordered to leave Abu Dhabi mosque over ‘improper’ photo shoot