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Pop star Rihanna asked to leave Abu Dhabi mosque

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 23 2013 7:20 p.m. MDT

In this photo posted to an Instagram account belonging to Rihanna, the pop star poses for a photo in front of Abu Dhabi's Grand Mosque in the United Arab Emirates. Overseers of Abu Dhabi's Grand Mosque say they asked Rihanna to leave the compound after she posed for photographs considered to be at odds with the "sanctity" of the site. Rihanna, who was in the city for a concert on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, hasn't publicly responded to the actions by staff at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Uncredited, Associated Press

Rihanna stirred up some controversy this week during her visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Following a photo shoot at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the mosque’s overseers asked Rihanna to leave for posing for photos “they considered to be at odds with the sanctity of the site,” The Huffington Post reported.

The photos, which were posted on Rihanna’s Instagram account, showed the singer in an all-black outfit “pouting and lying down in the courtyard,” according to The National, an Abu Dhabi newspaper. The statement did not specifically mention Rihanna, but it was issued following her visit and referred to a "singer."

The photos "didn’t go over well with the religious site, so much so that the singer was kicked out of the popular site before she even had a chance to enter the mosque,” USA Today reported.

After arriving at a private gate without any notification of her visit, Rihanna was asked “to proceed to the visitors' main gate and take the guided tour, according to procedure,” said a statement released by the mosque to The National.

While the mosque is open for tourists and visitors, “they ask them to do so in a way that is appropriate, and does not disrespect the religious nature of the location,” the statement said.

“She left without entering the mosque, after being asked to do so, due to the fact that she had taken some pictures that do not conform with the conditions and regulations put in place by the Centre’s management to regulate visits in a way that takes the status and sanctity of the mosque into consideration,” the statement continued.

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @hscribner

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