MANAMA, Bahrain – Pop star Michael Jackson took a shopping trip to a Bahrain mall Wednesday, covering himself in a black abaya robe traditionally worn by Bahraini women and a veil hiding his face, along with three children — apparently his — with their faces covered with dark scarves.
Jackson, who seems to be settling in the Persian Gulf, was seen leaving Marina Mall in the Bahrain capital, holding a child by the hand. On the way out through a back door, he shook hands with security guards.
He was wearing an abaya, a robe with long sleeves, under which his pants, white shirt and men's shoes could be seen, and his head and face were wrapped in a black veil. He had black gloves on his hands.
The veil, abaya and gloves were of a style typically worn by conservative Bahraini women, though Jackson appeared to be wearing them to hide his identity.
With him was a woman — also in an abaya and jeans and a scarf over her head that partially covered her face — who had the two other children. All three children's faces were wrapped in black scarves, and they wore yellow shirts and sweatpants or khakis without robes. The woman's identity was not known.
The woman asked photographers to respect their privacy saying they are scaring the children, as the five left in a White Lexus Infinity with darkened glass.
Since his June acquittal on child molestation charges, Jackson has made several trips to Bahrain as a guest of Sheik Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the son of Bahrain's king. It has been reported that he was negotiating a position as a consultant with a Bahrain-based company that plans to set up theme parks and music academies in the Middle East, according to a press release, earlier this month.
AAJ Holdings Ltd., owned by Ahmed Abu Bakr Janahi, said it wants to hire 47-year-old Jackson to give advice on setting up entertainment businesses.He is reportedly building a home in Bahrain, an island nation in the Persian Gulf linked to Saudi Arabia by a bridge.
In November, Jackson stirred a small controversy in the United Arab Emirates by entering the ladies room in a shopping mall. His publicist said Jackson, who arrived in Dubai as the guest of a champion rally driver, did not understand the Arabic sign on the door and left the bathroom as soon as he realized his mistake.
But local newspapers reported that the 47-year-old performer was spotted applying make-up in the woman's toilets in a Dubai mall. Jackson's host, Mohammed bin Sulayem, dismissed the story as rumor.