Qatar Airways says it has suspended an employee after a picture surfaced online of him smiling with a pair of abayas — black robes worn by conservative Muslim women — that were apparently left onboard an international flight.

The state-owned airline tweeted in Arabic that it "stresses respect for all passengers on its flights." The image had set off an uproar among Qataris and others in the Gulf.

Women traveling from the Gulf sometimes dress conservatively, then change out of their abayas when landing in Western countries.

The Qatar Airways' tweet earlier this week was first reported Friday by the Qatar-based news website Doha News.

The airline did not respond to a request for comment. The Associated Press could not immediately identify the crew member.