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Angela Merkel not the only women leader without headscarf welcome by Saudi King

Monday May 1, 2017 6:34 PM, & Agencies

Merkel with Saudi Crown Prince
[German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif on Sunday April 30, 2017 (Photo: SPA)]

Saudi Arabia demonstrated the tolerant image of Islam on Monday once again when King Salman received German Chancellor Angela Merkel who chose not to cover her head with a scarf - a normal practice followed by the women in the kingdom.

Before Angela Merkel, Saudi Arabia had greeted Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, and recently British Prime Minister Theresa May in the Kingdom who chose not to cover their head with a scarf.

Angela Merkel had in May 2010 visited Saudi Arabia and was greeted by then Saudi King Abdullah bare-headed.

Laura Bush with King Abdullah
[Laura Bush had tea sans headscarf with Saudi King Abdullah at the Riyadh Airport in May 2008 (Photo: AP)]

Back in May 2008, Laura Bush, wife of then US President George Bush visited Saudi Arabia and met King Abdullah without covering her head.

Even before Laura Bush, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a visit in 2007 and called on Saudi King and other top officials. She was greeted by them even as she chose not to wear the headscarf as the normal practice in the kingdom is.

However a section of the media, known for Islamophobic and anti-Muslim propaganda, is beating drums, terming Merkel's choice of attire during her Saudi visit as something new and extra ordinary, and her "refusal to adhere to strict Saudi conservative dress code".

Merkel with King Abdullah
[German Chancellor Angela Merkel goes bare-headed in Saudi Arabian King’s Palace May 2010. (Photo: AP)]

Merkel arrived in Saudi Arabia on a day-long visit on Sunday. King Salman hosted a lunch banquet in honor of her, who also met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, deputy premier and interior minister.

Merkel left for UAE on Monday.

A range of bilateral and regional issues, with a particular focus on Syria, Iran and Yemen, were discussed by King Salman and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Sunday. They also witnessed the signing of six major agreements.

The two leaders “reaffirmed the need for peaceful and political solutions to regional conflicts, including Syria and Yemen,” Michael Ohnmacht, deputy chief of the German mission, said on Sunday.

Detailing the signed agreements, Ohnmacht said: “A declaration of intent for police cooperation, especially in the fields of air security and transport operations, was signed by the Saudi Interior Ministry and German Federal Police.”

He said an agreement between the Saudi Defense Ministry and German Military Academy was signed to train Saudi personnel in different areas.

“Saudi policewomen will be trained by German police within the framework of the bilateral agreement,” said Ohnmacht.

He said that about 20 Saudi women have already joined the police training program in Jeddah, currently being conducted by women police trainers from Germany.

"Saudi women police personnel will not be sent to Germany for training. They will be undergoing training in the Kingdom itself,” confirmed Ohnmacht.

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