Rihanna’s mosque photo shoot – Any publicity is good publicity

Rhiannon outside a mosque in Abu Dhabi

Blogger and political activist, Majed Iqbal argues that Rihanna’s latest photo shoot outside an Abu Dhabi mosque is another example of media attention-seeking pop stars yearning for celeb brownie-points.   

It seems as if pop stars can’t get enough of drawing attention to themselves nowadays and there also seems to be a winning formula for doing this. It’s not rocket science to tell you the truth. All they have to do is to do the most ridiculous thing they can think of!

I am in no way a “celebrity guru” and neither would it be correct for me to be one from the Islamic point of view, but there are certain things that you simply cannot avoid as they’re so “in your face” all the time.

On Saturday, R&B “star” Rihanna, known more for revealing herself through her lack of clothing decided to “modestly clothe” herself in a hijab and pose outside a mosque in Abu Dhabi for a photo shoot.

So what’s the issue one may ask? I’m sure celebrities are given a session on cultural sensitivities before they travel to perform outside their respective countries for their global tours. By now they surely must have realised that Western values are not universal and in many parts of the world they are looked down upon, especially the Muslim world.

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But with the latest frenzy of celebrities doing the utmost outrageous acts to draw attention and boost ratings doesn’t seem not to worry them. After all, they have to remain in the public eye and catch people’s attention, even if it’s offensive, distasteful and obscene.

Only a few weeks back, the same discussion was taking place with Miley Cyrus and her latest endeavours to literally strip and act sexually seductive in her videos – a star whose fan following are young as 10!

Media discussions on this issue centred around “stretching the boundaries” and morality of stars like Cyrus. But in a world where people follow pop stars like sheep, it’s no surprise how attention-hungry celebrities can get away with such stunts and gain “A-list” mileage in international ratings.

Apparently, Rihanna didn’t really have permission to do the photo-shoot we are told.  The mosque she paraded around in made it clear in a statement issued yesterday that they were concerned about her poses that took place on their premises.

From the pictures made available on Rihanna’s Instagram account, you can clearly see that posing around for photos lying on the floor in a place where people come to worship and save themselves from the exact corruption which stars like Rihanna are currently glorifying and promoting – it wasn’t exactly a smart move from Rihanna really!

But what exactly is the government of UAE representing if it allows such “stars” with sexual baggage to arrive at the doorsteps of their country and yet they think nothing of stopping it?

The mosque has played its part in putting out its view on the incident, but no official statement has been issued by the government and I wouldn’t hold my breathe in expectation.

From the likes of Rihanna’s point of view, I guess it’s a case of “any publicity is good publicity”.


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