Rihanna at the 2019 Fashion Awards in London. Jeff Spicer/BFC/Getty Images
  • Rihanna posted a topless photo on Monday, wearing a pendant depicting the Hindu god Ganesha.

  • The singer, who was raised Christian, was criticized by fans for “disrespecting” a religious symbol.

  • “My religion is not an aesthetic,” one person wrote on Twitter.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rihanna has attracted criticism for using the symbol of a Hindu deity as a fashion accessory.

The “Work” singer shared a photo on Monday of herself posing topless, wearing purple silk shorts and large pieces of jewelry.

Many fans noticed that her pendant necklace depicts Ganesha, also spelled Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god of beginnings.

To the public’s knowledge, Rihanna has no personal connection to Hinduism. The 32-year-old artist was raised in Barbados by her mother, Monica Fenty, who’s a devout Christian.

In a 2019 conversation with Sarah Paulson for Interview magazine, Rihanna said she has “always” been a person of “real faith.”

“My first time praying and fasting was when I was 7 years old. I did that on my own, because I wanted to go to New York, and I knew that this was a sacrifice I had to make in order for god to make sure I could get there,” she said.

When Paulson asked if she’s ever questioned her faith, Rihanna said no.

“But I have been in a place where I felt like maybe I had disappointed god so much that we weren’t as close,” she explained.

Because Rihanna is not Hindu, she has been accused online of “disrespecting” Hinduism and exploiting the religion for an aesthetic purpose.

“You’re appropriating my culture and my religion,” one person commented on her Instagram post. “Posing half-naked is never an issue, but when you do it while wearing a religious deity as a fashion statement, it is incredibly offensive and inappropriate.”

rihanna comments

Screenshots of Rihanna’s comments on Instagram. @badgalriri/Instagram

Others pointed out that Rihanna posted the photo on the same day as Ganesh Jayanti, an annual festival in India that celebrates the birth of the god.

“As a non Hindu, posing with a Ganesh necklace on this day to your thousands of non Hindu followers inadvertently gives them permission to also see that Ganesh necklace as nothing more than a decoration, when to many others there’s a stronger meaning behind it,” another person commented.

Rihanna also sparked backlash on Twitter, where fans called her accessory “disappointing” and “disrespectful.”

A representative for Rihanna did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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