Disney Channel star Selena Gomez provoked outrage with some recent pictures she took on her visit to Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Gomez posted two images to her Instagram account in which the actress and singer can be seen flashing an ankle at the camera while otherwise dressed head to toe in black. Another image showed Gomez posing at the mosque with friends Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Cody Simpson, and Shay Mitchell. Both images have since been erased from Gomez’s Instagram account, but were picked up by TMZ and the Daily Mail.
“Disrespectful! It’s a religion place not a place to have fun in, so disappointed,” Instagram user Alaa Almitwally reportedly commented on the image.
“If their intent was to learn about Islam they wouldn’t be posing like they were standing outside an amusement park,” commented another.
Still, some commenters were supportive of the celebrity’s photos, the Mail notes.
“It’s a place of worship, yes I know, but God never forbade the entry of other religions into any mosque,” wrote one user. “So please respect the fact that they actually want to get to know Islam and its beauty.”
Mosque officials reportedly told TMZ that Gomez’s exposed ankle was certainly a problem, but both smiling and laughing are also prohibited at the Grand Mosque.
Bermudan superstar Rihanna was similarly criticized for taking pictures at the mosque last year, although she was reportedly kicked out of the building.