- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First lady Michelle Obama’s face was reportedly blurred by Saudi state television Tuesday as she and the president met with new Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, although officials deny the claim.

The new Saudi king shook hands with President Obama at the Erga Palace but did not acknowledge the first lady at all during a brief aside at the funeral for King Abdullah, Bloomberg View reported.

Mrs. Obama did not wear a head scarf during the funeral, as is custom for any woman appearing in public in Saudi Arabia. Visitors to the kingdom are not required to abide by its strict dress code, but the first lady was still criticized on social media by Saudis using the hashtags #Michelle_Obama_Immodest and #Michelle_Obama_NotVeiled, Politico reported.

Several videos posted on Saudis’ Facebook pages obscured Mrs. Obama’s face but were removed shortly after they were posted, Bloomberg reported.

Nail al-Jubeir, information director at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, denied the claim that state television censored the first lady.

“Saudi TV has been showing the total arrival ceremony at the airport and at the Palace, and nowhere is anything blurred,” the director told Bloomberg.


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CNN’s Hala Gorani tweeted that her colleague in Riyadh saw non-altered images of the meeting on Saudi TV. Other news organizations, such as Al Jazeera, also showed the meeting without censoring Mrs. Obama’s face, Bloomberg reported.

The president and first lady cut short their trip to India to attend the funeral Tuesday. Mr. Obama praised the late king in a statement following his death, saying “King Abdullah’s vision was dedicated to the education of his people and to greater engagement with the world,” Bloomberg reported.

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