Posted by News Express | 19 September 2013 | 3,636 times
It was a day of glory for Nigeria yesterday as Obabiyi Aisha Ajibola made the country proud by wining the Muslim Miss World beauty contest held in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. She beat 19 other finalists from across the world.
Reporting on the event, the international news agency, AFP, said: “The 20 finalists, who were all required to wear headscarves, put on a glittering show for the final of Muslimah World, strolling up and down a catwalk in elaborately embroidered dresses and stilettos.
“But the contestants from six countries were covered from head to foot, and as well as beauty they were judged on how well they recited Koranic verses and their views on Islam in the modern world.
“After a show in front of an audience of mainly religious scholars and devout Muslims, a panel of judges picked Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola from Nigeria as the winner.”
Ajibola, 21-year-old, a student of the University of Lagos, was overwhelmed. Upon hearing her name, she knelt down and prayed, then wept as she recited a Koranic verse, saying: “Thanks to Almighty Allah!”
Ajibola, who received 25 million rupiah (N365,000) and trips to Mecca and India as prizes, told AFP before the final that the event “was not really about competition.”
“We’re just trying to show the world that Islam is beautiful,” she said.
Organisers said the pageant challenged the idea of beauty put forward by the British-run Miss World pageant, and also showed that opposition to the event could be expressed non-violently.
Eka Shanti, who founded the pageant three years ago after losing her job as a TV news anchor for refusing to remove her headscarf, bills the contest as “Islam’s answer to Miss World”.
“This year we deliberately held our event just before the Miss World final to show that there are alternative role models for Muslim women,” she told AFP.
“But it’s about more than Miss World. Muslim women are increasingly working in the entertainment industry in a sexually explicit way, and they become role models, which is a concern.”
Hosted by Dewi Sandra, an Indonesian actress and pop star who recently hung up her racy dresses for a headscarf, the pageant featured both Muslim and pop music performances, including one about modesty, a trait the judges sought in the winner.
The pageant, which also featured bright Indonesian Islamic designer wear, is a starkly different way of protesting Miss World than the approach taken by Islamic radicals.
News Express reports that Nigeria’s Agbani Darego won the conventional Miss World beauty pageant in 2001 – becoming the first Black African to achieve the feat – and went on to become a successful international model.
•Photo shows Obabiyi Aisha Ajibola being crowned Muslim Miss World . . . yesterday in Indonesia.
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