Barack Obama didn’t say anything about Raif Badawi on his visit to Saud-family Arabia, but Michelle Obama gave them a slight poke in the eye by not wearing a bag over her head.
In Saudi Arabia, that’s unusual: The country is one of the few on Earth where women are expected to cover their heads, and most Saudi women wear niqabs.
Exceptions are made for foreigners, however, and Michelle – who did wear loose clothing that fully covered her arms – appears to have been one of them. In photographs from the official events, other foreign female guests are also shown not wearing headscarves.
More than 1,500 tweets using the hashtag #ميشيل_أوباما_سفور (roughly, #Michelle_Obama_immodesty) were sent Tuesday, many of which criticized the first lady. Some users pointed out that on a recent trip to Indonesia, Michelle had worn a headscarf. Why not in Saudi Arabia?
Sure enough, she did –
Creepy pictures. She looks muffled up and blotted out. She looks partially erased.
…the Obamas’ trip to Saudi Arabia comes at a time of remarkable international criticism of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, prompted largely by the flogging of blogger Raif Badawi for insulting Islam. The trip was apparently designed to be apolitical – Obama has said he was “unlikely” to discuss Badawi’s case with the new Saudi king.
But in Saudi Arabia, the simple act of not covering your head can be political, intentionally or not.
Well, I hope she intended it, but on the other hand – if I could choose one I would choose the prez talking about Raif.