Rihanna Asked to Leave UAE Mosque Over Fashion-Style Photo Shoot


An official statement said the singer's photo session violated rules on the "status and sanctity of the mosque."

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- Overseers of Abu Dhabi's Grand Mosque say they asked pop star Rihanna to leave the compound after she posed for photographs considered to be at odds with the "sanctity" of the site.

Rihanna hasn't publicly responded to the actions by staff at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Her show took place on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.

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Photos posted on various websites, including the singer's own Instagram (see two of them below), show the singer posing on white marble, dressed fully in black, with her hair covered according to the mosque's guidelines.

The mosque statement, published Monday in local newspapers, said Rihanna was in an area normally off-limits for visitors. It says the fashion-style photo session violated rules on the "status and sanctity of the mosque."

"The Centre strives to ensure that visitors enter the mosque in a decent fashion and refrain from behaving in any way that is inconsistent with the sanctity of this religious place," the statement read. "Here, the Centre refers to a recent incident, involving a singer who came for a private visit to the mosque, at a gate that is not reserved for visitors, without prior coordination with the Centre’s management and without identifying herself."

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Commenters to her Instagram feed were mixed in their feelings about the photos.

"I'll ALWAYS love YOU Riri You are incrçedible...The Photos are AMAZING!! BREAKING RULES!!" wrote one.

But another one wrote: "OMG I HATE U YOU ARE SO DISRESPECTFUL."

The mosque is a major tourist site in the United Arab Emirates' capital.