German Tourism withdrew from Riyadh Exhibition outraged over the religious police treatment of a female representative
Outraged over the maltreatment of one of its female representatives by members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the religious police known as (Haia), the German Tourism Commission withdrew participation from the Riyadh International Exhibition for Travel.
The Saudi Religious police approached a German Tourism Authority employee at the German wing and asked her to change her Abaya ‘cloak’ because it has ‘a red line’ and told her not to talk to visitors.
The German Tourism Authority pulled out of the Riyadh 2011 International Exhibition for travel as a protest against the intervention of the Saudi religious police known as ‘the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice’ in one of The German Tourism Authority’s employees, when they asked her to change her Abaya because it had a “red line” and she was told not to talk to the visitors of the exhibition according to a report published by Alriyadh daily. The representative said the men were the only people at the event who behaved deplorably, and that all of the other Saudi attendees behaved in a “polite and ideal manner.”
The report claims the religious police even followed her until she left the exhibition and made sure that she left in a taxi. The newspaper claims the female employee was distressed, frightened and crying since this was her first visit to Saudi Arabia and the behaviour of the religious police came as a total shock
Antje Roeding , the regional director of sales and marketing based in the national office of the German tourism in the Gulf, based in Dubai, told the newspaper, “we will stop our participation in the exhibition because of this weird situation and the unexpected behaviour of total strangers who entered the exhibition in a frightening manner”. Roeding explained ‘ following what happened to us and to our colleague who happens to be a Muslim woman, and since we were all, and the fact that we are all committed to the traditions of Saudi Arabia and wearing Abayas and headscarves, we are thinking of not coming back to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or participate on any future activities.