Merkel won't wear headscarf in Saudi Arabia

German Chancellor chooses not to wear headscarf during talks with the Saudi king.

Ben Ariel,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Flash 90

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, but chose not to wear a headscarf during her talks with the Saudi king, reports The Independent.

Merkel was greeted by King Salman and other top officials upon her arrival at the western city of Jiddah. Like other recent female Western visitors, she did not cover her hair upon arrival in the conservative Islamic kingdom.

Several months ago, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen angered Saudi Arabians when she refused to wear traditional Muslim attire during her official visit to the kingdom.

“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,” she later told the German Bild magazine.

Prime Minister Theresa May also eschewed the strict dress code for women when she arrived in Riyadh, after saying she hoped to be an inspiration to oppressed women in Saudi Arabia, noted The Independent.

Merkel recently called for the burqa to be banned in Germany, saying it was "not acceptable in our county".

Last week, the German parliament passed a draft law banning women working in the civil service, judiciary and military from wearing full-face veils.

Saudi Arabia is notorious for its violation of human rights in general and specifically of women, including a longstanding ban on driving.

In addition to the driving ban, women are governed by guardianship laws that give men final say over aspects of their lives like marriage, travel and higher education.

Despite its violation of human rights, Saudi Arabia was elected to hold a seat on the UN Human Rights Council several years ago.

Just last week, Saudi Arabia was elected to the UN's Commission on the Status of Women.








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