I don’t like Rihanna, neither her music nor her look. Perhaps it stems from the time when she and Chris Brown were an item and allowed herself to be his punching bag. I dislike like women who don’t have a high enough regard for themselves to keep from being abused by anyone, especially men with Napoleonic complexes, however I was slightly perplexed to hear she was thrown out of the Shaikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi for what some thought were inappropriate photographs she took there the day of a concert she was to perform later in the same city. Looking at the photos, they are typically Rihanna, toned down quite a bit.
Everybody knows Rihanna’s schtick, EVERYBODY except those in the UAE it appears. She is no secret, she’s not an enigma she is what you see and as the photos and others on her instagram account show, sometimes you see more of her than at other times.
The UAE has had this problem however for some time of people who go to that country and flaunt themselves in ways Emiratis consider disrespectful of their way of life. For many westerners, baring skin, drinking and carousing is as natural to them as it is for people of the Gulf praying five times a day or covering one’s self fully in 100 degree weather. How then do you reconcile the two opposites into a peaceful coexistence? It’s clear for Emiratis, that kind of existence is not desirable if it means accommodating the likes of Rihanna which is why she was kicked out from the masjid. It’s important to note that she was allowed to continue with her lackluster concert according to some, but the bigger problem is how can a country that wants to live its austere religious lifestyle justify making itself a center of tourism and commerce that invites a lifestyle completely opposite of those principles? Emiratis want to have their cake and eat it too, they want to live as Muslims while entertaining people from all walks of life who are only interested in that country as a place of fun and sun and for the moment it’s hard to imagine how that integration can happen without conflict of the sort that resulted at Shaikh Zayed’s masjid. Emiratis should not be surprised nor upset that what you see is what you get is coming into their country they just have to figure out if they want to keep having them come.