Oh, and it’s to provide ”good relations”!
This is treating foreigners, especially non Western foreigners, like spoiled children. The idea is that they always have to get their way. ”Their ways and customs” have to be respected no matter where they are, Westerners just have to adapt to them. If the Finnish government acted in the same vein, it would demand every Saudi female accompanying her handler to Finland, to remove her body covering and wear a short skirt, ”because not doing so would affect their sensibilities and good relations”.
NOTE: Really folks, how clownish can it get? Feminist politicians donning highly offensive misogynist garments? What’s worse, is that the Finns are doing it on their own initiative, the Saudis didn’t request the abayas. Dhimmitude at its worst. We really live in a period of immense stupidity.
Finland is strengthening its ties to Saudi Arabia, despite large differences in the culture of the two nations, especially those experienced by women travellers.
Only the face, palms of the hands and feet are visible when a woman wears the abaya in accordance with Saudi custom. Director of the Middle Eastern and North African unit of the Foreign Ministry, Helena Tuuri, says that the abayas have been provided to aid good relations. According to her, Finnish women need not over up at all times, but can use the traditional Muslim women’s clothing as the situation dictates.
“The normal abaya is a flowing, long-sleeved robe that reaches from neck to ankle. It’s loose and can be worn over normal clothes,” Tuuri said on Yle Radio.
She stated that in Saudi Arabia Muslim women customarily cover their heads and added that it could be advisable for western women to wear a headscarf in public places, although it is not mandatory.
“It is good to have a scarf handy in case you happen to need it,” said Tuuri. “If religious police come and say it might be good to cover up.”
She added that Saudi Arabia did not request that visiting foreign female officials use the abaya and that female officials from other Nordic countries have also adopted the same approach as the Finns.