German Defence Minister Sparks Outrage After Refusing To Wear Hijab During Saudi Arabia Visit

Ursula von der Leyen (HuffPost Arbi)

A controversy erupted after German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her entourage refused to wear hijab or the full-length burka while visiting Riyadh.

Saudis took to Twitter and Facebook to vent their anger after images of Von der Leyen dressed in European clothing appeared in Saudi News. 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!"

Responding to criticism and obscene comments made against her, 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 statement came days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a ban on the burqa head covering in Germany.

According to Sputnik, Von der Leyen wore a dark blue suit during a meeting with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman al Saud, while al-Saud donned the traditional ghutra head covering and white thobe garment.

With inputs from Sputnik International

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