Dubai: Wherever Rihanna goes, controversy is sure to follow — and Abu Dhabi is no exception.
The brazen trend-setter made a stop at the du Arena on Yas Island this Saturday, but it wasn’t her show that had people talking; rather a set of professional photographs posted to her Instagram that day.
The shots see the singer clad in a conservative black jumpsuit and head covering, striking high fashion poses outside Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre.
Though some found Rihanna’s outfit tasteful and didn’t take offence to the photos, others found them to be disrespectful, taking to social media to express their frustrations.
The Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre on Sunday issued a statement in Arabic clarifying their role in the photo shoot, saying that 'a prominent singer' was turned away once she went against the code of conduct.
While the statement did not name her specifically, it was posted in the wake of Rihanna's high-profile visit to the mosque.
In the statement, the centre said that the mosque remains one of the main centres for religion, knowledge and culture within the UAE, and went on to say its doors are always open to visitors from all faiths and backgrounds, be it to appreciate its architectural value or otherwise.
But while the mosque allows visitors to tour and take photos, they ask them to do so in a way that is appropriate, and does not disrespect the religious nature of the location.
According to the statement, the singer did not make arrangements with the mosque’s management prior to her personal visit.
Despite being directed to enter through the visitor’s entrance to take a standard tour of the mosque, Rihanna stayed outside to snap the shots in question, and was reportedly asked to leave once it became apparent that the photographs — and poses — did not fit within the rules and regulations set out to preserve the sacredness of the centre.