Madonna's Muslim Headgear Polarizes Fans

Madonna in a niqab... and all sweaty after a workout (Instagram)
Madonna in a niqab... and all sweaty after a workout (Instagram)

Madonna has never been shy about sharing her views of religion or stoking controversy.

Now, with a new album whispered to be coming soon (there's been no formal confirmation), the "Girl Gone Wild" singer has been posting up a storm on Instagram.

On Tuesday, the 55-year-old Material Mom shared a photo herself wearing a Muslim niqab (a veil that covers everything but a woman's eyes) and captioned it: "Its that kind of day! #unapologeticbitch"

Raised a strict Catholic and now a follower of the Jewish practice of Kabbalah, Madonna sparked a firestorm 25 years ago for using religious imagery in the video for "Like a Prayer."

[Related: Madonna's 'Like a Prayer' Turns 25! 10 Things You Might Not Know]

This isn't the first time Madonna's worn a niqab. She was photographed wearing a chainmail niqab last fall to accompany her essay for Harper's Bazaar in which she explained her interest in learning more about Islam.

"I am building schools for girls in Islamic countries and studying the Qur'an," she wrote. "I think it is important to study all the holy books. As my friend Yaman always tells me, a good Muslim is a good Jew, and a good Jew is a good Christian, and so forth. I couldn't agree more. To some people this is a very daring thought."

Maybe these thoughts had something to do with her niqab photo…or maybe not. Regardless of intentions, her photo has divided fans. 

"The people who are judging Madonna, saying she looks like a fool will be the ones who will be judged by God as well. Don't worry about what Madonna does...worry about your own behavior. Lead by example. Stop judging," freedomlover88 wrote in the comments next to Madonna's Instagram photo.

[Related: Go Blue! Madonna's Daughter Enrolls at University of Michigan]

However, little_liar97 wrote, "What the f--- are you doing madonna? Stop being offensive, not all musloms wear burka just women who want to and you dont have any clue about what is Islam about so stop and excuse me but Niqab or burka arent in the Islam , in ancient afganistan people worw it bc it was a desert so if you dont know dont say."

Many also pointed out that some critics had it wrong in writing that Madonna was wearing a burka, instead of a niqab. 

On Twitter, fans were mostly critical:

However, Salam Al-Marayati, the president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, declined to criticize Madonna's headgear. Instead, he told Yahoo that Madonna cares passionately about making a positive difference for young girls in Islamic culture.

"I know that she's done a lot of humanitarian work in the past and I've heard that she's interested in helping promote education for girls in Middle Eastern countries," he said. "And that's a positive thing."

Exactly a year ago, Madonna took the stage with Pakistani human rights advocate Humaira Bachal and committed to match donations via her Ray of Light Foundation in support of the Afghan Institute of Learning.

Aside from her "unapologetic" picture, Madonna was in a more revealing mood later. On Wednesday, she published a shot of her sweaty, cleavage-baring self captioned: "Post graduation workout. #i'mdone." (Her oldest daughter, Lourdes, just graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of Michigan.)

Madonna's 13th studio album is expected for release sometime this year. While no date has been announced, she has been in the studio working with popular electronic music producers like Avicii, Diplo, and Disclosure.

Based on her track record, we can only expect more wild images on Instagram as the album release nears.