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When Michelle Obama’s ‘no-scarf’ in Saudi Arabia triggered controversy

Obama and Michelle visited Saudi Arabia to express condolences on the death of the late Saudi Arabian King Abdullah.

Written by Krishna Vamsi | New Delhi | Updated: March 20, 2015 2:22:02 pm
In this Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 photo provided by the Saudi Press Agency, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama stand in a receiving line, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. (Source: AP) In this Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 photo provided by the Saudi Press Agency, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama stand in a receiving line, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. (Source: AP)

The media, which jumps for exclusive footage of leaders, exhibited a contrast in its coverage of the First Lady Michelle Obama during her visit to Saudi Arabia.

In India where her media attention was craved for and was even missed for not being under the media radar, the BloombergView on Wednesday reported Michelle’s media repulsion in Saudi Arabia. Apparently, videos were posted on Facebook and YouTube of a Saudi television channel blurring Michelle for not wearing a headscarf. However, there were reports of the footage to have been edited by third party before it went viral on YouTube.

Barack and Michelle Obama with Pope in the Vatican city in 2009 (Source: Reuters) Barack and Michelle Obama with Pope in the Vatican city in 2009 (Source: Reuters)

Obama and the First Lady are in Saudi to attend the funeral of King Abdullah.

In response to the BloombergView report, the Saudi Arabia embassy in USA reacted sharply on microblgging site Twitter. However, the US embassy in Riyadh has not commented anything on this issue.

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, Grand Imam Ali Mustafa Yaqub and President Barack Obama tour the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta. (Reuters) U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, Grand Imam Ali Mustafa Yaqub and President Barack Obama tour the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta. (Reuters)

The BloombergView’s Josh Rogin reports in the story that he captured screenshots of videos from Facebook and YouTube which were “removed shortly” after they were posted.

But is Michelle not okay with wearing a headscarf? According to a Reuters report, she had donned a headscraf in a mosque during her visit to Indonesia in 2010. Also in another report in 2009, she wore a black veil when the Obamas met Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.

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