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  (Source: AFP)
Saudi Arabian law does not require foreigners to wear head scarves

Twitter Inc.'s (TWTR) microblogging social network is a popular platform in the Middle East and -- as one might expect -- sometimes it becomes a voicepiece for some rather ridiculous medieval-minded rhetoric.

In that realm is a trending hashtag from Saudi Arabi today (see below) which translates in English to "#Michelle_Obama_Immodesty".  Over 1,500 tweets were posted in the region, most criticizing the first lady, and a minority speaking out in her defense.  Here's an example of one of these posts: So what got citizens in the theocratic state so riled up?  Apparently they were upset that during the President Barack Obama's visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, the First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS, for those who enjoy acronyms) didn't wear a head scarf.  Obama had cut short a trip to India to visit the country's new king, Salman bin Abdul Aziz, and pay tribute to the region's late King Abdullah.

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama and the POTUS meet with a delegation of Saudi royals. [Image Source: Reuters]

Saudi Arabia requires all its female citizens to wear headscarves and black robes when in public.  Most women even wear a veil -- called a niqab -- when in public.  That said the backlash on Twitter is somewhat bizarre as female foreigners are not required to wear headscarves when visiting the nation.  

Former FLOTUS Laura Bush did not wear a headscarf either, when visiting the late Saudi King Abdullah in 2006.  And while the current FLOTUS didn't cover her hair, it should be noted that she actually dressed remarkably modestly by local standards, showing no exposed skin on her arms and legs.

The story does highlight one interesting fact -- it's easy to get confused when it comes to foreign hashtags.  At least one person challenged the authenticity of the story, which was reported on by The Washington Post, Politico, and other outlets: Apparently he didn't realize that the hashtag was in Arabic.  Whoops.

Sources: Washington Post, Politico





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