Earlier this month, 2013′s Miss World Beauty Contest was met with very loud boos and hisses from its host nation, Indonesia.
Home to the biggest population of Muslims in the world, many right-wing, Islamic sections of Indonesian society condemned the contest for its ‘smut’ and its ‘pornographic’ nature.
But the Muslimah World Beauty Contest, which will be held on Wednesday 18th of September, aims to prove that that you don’t need a bikini to be beautiful.
“You have to be pious, be a positive role model and show how you balance a life of spirituality in today’s modernised world,” says founder of the pageant, Eka Shanti.
Speaking to AFP, Shanti was, however, quick to distance the competition from the hardcore Islamist groups that took to the streets in protest of Miss World. “We don’t just want to shout ‘no’ to Miss World. We’d rather show our children they have choices. Do you want to be like the women in Miss World? Or like those in Muslimah World?”
The Muslimah World contest will see twenty finalists – chosen from over 500 applicants – compete in several rounds of battle, including a Quran recital.
While it is a smart move for Shanti to have denounced the backlash against Miss World, the Muslimah World contest is still likely to be met with cynicism. What do you think? Can Muslim see these women as role models? Or will it always be tainted by a minefield of hypocrisy and ideas of repression?