German defense minister refuses to wear abaya in Saudi Arabia

Published: December 15, 2016
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German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen refused to wear traditional Muslim attire over an official visit to Saudi Arabia last Wednesday.

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“Of course, I respect the customs and customs of a country. I strive to comply with such rules. But for me there are limits to the way I adapt to the country,” German newspaper Bild quoted her as having said. “I do not put on a headscarf and I wear trousers,” the minister said.

Explaining her decision, she stressed that “Being able to choose your own clothes is a right for both men and women alike.” For this reason, she said, “It annoys me, when women travelling with women are pressured into wearing the abaya.”

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Leyen’s diplomatic engagement with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman al Saud was held to discuss the training of Saudi officers in the European Union. The Christian Democratic Union politician and her team were offered abayas by the German embassy in Riyadh when they arrived last Wednesday.

Iraqi pharmacist Hussam al-Mosawi tweeted that Leyen’s decision was “an insult to Saudi Arabia.”

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However, her decision has caused very little controversy as it was not without precedent. United States First Lady Michelle Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former US Secretary of States Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and former US first lady Laura Bush have all done the same.

This article originally appeared on Independent.

 

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Dec 15, 2016 - 1:40PM

    I think she did a good thing . Do the Arabs ( refugees /immigrants) remove their head scarf while in Europe ? in the same logic ,why should Europeans wear scarf when they go to Arabia ?Recommend

  • yaldram
    Dec 15, 2016 - 3:20PM

    @bunny rabit then why they propose ban on hijab? When in rome do as the romans do. A qoute from the westerners themselves which they do not follow when it comes to them.Recommend

  • Salah Uddin Munis
    Dec 15, 2016 - 3:57PM

    As usual, a foolish news to publish.
    No controversy, absolutely normal. Recommend

  • American
    Dec 15, 2016 - 4:48PM

    In fact, even Saudi women should not be required to wear the abaya, if they don’t want to.
    Its always the men that force the women…time to stop it… Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Dec 15, 2016 - 5:15PM

    Mullah’s attitude towards powerful is completely different than its towards poor and weak. Recommend

  • saleem
    Dec 15, 2016 - 5:32PM

    @yaldram: she is not going to live there as a refugees /immigrants.. it was only a official visit… she did a good thingRecommend

  • Sodomite
    Dec 15, 2016 - 8:04PM

    @saleem:
    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    @American:
    You guys are all right. I endorse your opinion. Time to take it off. Recommend

  • genesis
    Dec 15, 2016 - 10:26PM

    It shows the power equations are changing and oil is not the supreme commodity it once was.better accept change is the answer.Recommend

  • Ali S
    Dec 16, 2016 - 1:06AM

    Must hurt the Saudis’ fragile egos to know that they’re in no position to dictate a powerful Western woman how to dress.Recommend

  • Abbas
    Dec 16, 2016 - 8:38AM

    Its simple logic, If they do not want Muslim women to where abayh in there countries then then should not where there western cloths in Muslim countries which shows there hypocrisy in this matter. Shame on the Saudis for not keeping and upholding the law in this matter. Recommend

  • FAZ
    Dec 16, 2016 - 8:45AM

    @Bunny Rabbit:
    I dont think they remove the headscarf unless they are forced too. But yes, if you are not willing then there should not be any force involved in what you doRecommend

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