German minister denies to wear hijab in Saudi Arabia

German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen has refused to wear a hijab for her visit to Saudi Arabia.

She rejected wearing traditional dress – either the burka or abaya (full-length robes) the on the premise that women should have the same right to choose their clothing as men.


So she instead opted for a trouser suit to meet deputy crown prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who seemed to respect her decision as he smiled and shook hands with her during their meeting.

According to German newspaper Das Build, Ms Von der Leyen said: “No woman in my delegation has to wear the abaya.

“The right to choose your own clothing is a right shared by men and women alike. It annoys me, when women are pushed into wearing the abaya.”

And Leyen isn’t the only woman to have turned down wearing traditional dress – Michelle Obama did the same for her Saudi visit with Barack, as did the Duchess of Cornwall in 2013.

This decision was made just weeks after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she’d back a country-wide all-out burka ban in Germany, much like the ban on wearing face-obscuring headgear in France.


Such laws certainly aren’t without their controversy, as we found out when three French towns banned the burkini – modest swimwear for Mulsim women – this year.

While some believed such laws exist in order to protect women, others say that they in fact encroach on individual freedoms, provoking quite a backlash in the form of protest and political cartoons.


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