German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Saudi Arabia without a headscarf for talks with the oil-rich kingdom’s monarch.
Merkel was greeted by King Salman and other top officials upon her arrival in Jeddah on Monday, May 1.
Like other recent female Western visitors such as British Prime Minister Theresa May, U.S. Presidential election candidate Hillary Clinton and former First Lady Michelle Obama, Merkel did not cover her hair upon arrival in the conservative Islamic kingdom.
Saudi Arabia enforces a conservative dress code in public, requiring women to wear a full-length robe and cover their hair.
However, this is not the first time that Merkel has refused to adhere to the dress code of the country. On both of her previous visits to the country, the German Chancellor was seen without the headscarf.
Merkel has called for the burqa to be banned in Germany, saying it is “not acceptable in our country.” “It should be banned, wherever it is legally possible.”
Last week, the German parliament voted for a draft law banning women working in the civil service, judiciary and military from wearing full-face veils. Burqas and niqabs will be prohibited in selected professions as part of the legislation, once approved by the Bundesrat state parliament.
Interestingly, Saudi Deputy Economy Minister Mohammed Al Tuwaijri was quoted as saying by German news magazine “Der Spiegel” that Merkel is a role model for Saudi women.