Rihanna is currently touring in Abu Dhabi, and has already made some pretty big news over there: she managed to get herself kicked out of a mosque for staging an “inappropriate” photo shoot.
Granted,the famously provocative singer actually toned down her stage attire (she wore pants!), and she even donned an hijab, a traditional Muslim head covering, while touring the city, presumably in deference to local culture and traditions. But, she couldn’t quite avoid controversy entirely: She decided to do a photo shoot, lensed by Steven Gomillion and Dennis Leupold, in front of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre, which she then posted on Instagram. According to The Telegraph, the Centre asked her to pack up her crew and leave, and then released this statement:
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. In the event of behaviour that violates the moral codes of access to the mosque, or other visit regulations – such as taking inappropriate pictures, posing in ways that are improper in the context of sacred place, talking loudly, or eating – the violators are directed in a polite manner that reflects the civilisational and tolerant attributes of Islam. Usually, the visitors are appreciative of that.
Riri received some strong comments on the photos on her Instagram account. While many people–Muslim and non-Muslim alike–praised her for wearing the hijab, some accused her of wearing it as a fashion accessory rather than as a sign of respect to the culture, and many condemned her for shooting what essentially looks like a fashion spread in front of a holy place. Here are just a few of the many comments:
“Cultural appropriation” –@alexislee
“This is very disrespectful even if she is covered she is not suppose to take photos in the mosque. I don’t think you would like to see a naked person taking photos in a church as well. Advertising or not this is not the proper place she could have gone to the emirates palace or Yas Island to shoot her dummy photos” –@msloca89
“Next time when you’ll visit our country respect our religion and our rules, This is not acceptable at all” –@asma_muhammed
Click through for photos from the shoot and her unusually covered-up performance.
Photos: @badgirlriri Instagram