Miss World Contest 2013 & The Muslim Protest

The Miss World Contest is one of the most awaited global events of the year. It happens to be the oldest surviving major international beauty pageant. It started off back in 1951, more than 60 years ago! Each delegate or participant must win her national title or a specifically designated Miss World national preliminary, to be eligible for competing in Miss World contest. The annual final event is a month long and consists of several galas, dinners, balls and many other activities which ends in a globally telecast final in which the delegates are narrowed down to between 15 to 20.

This year the spectacular finale of ‘Miss World 2013’ was held in an Indonesian resort island of Bali. Miss Philippines won this auspicious title this year and was crowned Miss World 2013. Megan Young, 23, who looked stunning in a pink fishtail dress, won the 63rd annual beauty pageant contest on 28th September, 2013.

miss worldMegan had her eyes filled with tears of joy as she was awarded the most coveted title of the year. A very emotional Megan announced to the world that ‘I promise to be the best Miss World ever’

The second runner up in this competition was Miss France (Marine Lorpheline), followed by Miss Ghana (Carranza Naa Okailey Shooter) in the third position. Around 127 contestants competed in the finale, but they were quickly narrowed down to six. In the weeks before the finale, all the contestants took part in a series of challenging events for which they were given points. These included a bikini round, which had a slight change in its format this year. The participants were seen adoring sarongs instead of usual bikinis to avoid causing offense to the Muslim majority in Indonesia. All the contestants were photographed in different Bali locations wearing long sleeved shirts or body covering shawls so that the Muslim population would not get aggravated.

photo(70)This year the contest faced a lot of problems due to the protest done by certain Muslims groups in Indonesia who regarded the beauty pageant as unethical and against their religion. Because of the uproar caused by the Muslims in Indonesia, the beauty pageant was shifted from the main island of Java to Bali. Around 600 people gathered in protest in Java around 3 weeks before the event, and the number kept on increasing by the day. Students came out in Java’s Surabaya City with banners which read “We are ready to die for the Miss World Contest to be scrapped” while other people bought goats wearing Miss World sashes to ridicule the event. Many people argued that this event exploited women and was an export of Western hedonism.

The event happened under tight security as there were almost 700 police officers along with the traditional Balinese security. Because of the deteriorating conditions, two participants from the initial 129 contestants also withdrew, and the contest was left with 127 contestants.

The air was thick with tension as the protest kept on increasing as thousands of Muslims protested across Indonesia. The participants and organizers were finally relieved when the three week contest finally came to an end this Saturday.

After being unsuccessful in their protest, the Muslim population gathered for a prayer session in Sentul, just outside the capital Jakarta, to express their opposition to the pageant.

Mariam Shafiq

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  • Rashid Nazir Ali

    Indonesia is the country with highest muslim population in the world, its total population is 237.6 million (23 crore, 76 lakh) in which 88% *around 20 crore) are muslims and rest are mainly christians, hindus and budhhist. indonesia is the only islamic country where a muslim woman has served as president, it was megawati soekarnoputri

    Protesting and recording their voice is a right of individual, information in your article is right, but i guess the protest was not by whole musiim population, it was protest by some muslim religious organizations, if it had been a muslim protest majority of 88% would have been on streets and indonesia has been jammed, which surely was not the case.

    Many countries with muslim majority population does participate in miss world quite regularly like indonesia, malaysia, turkey, albania, uzbekistan, kazakhistan, nigeria, tanzania,bosnia and herzegovina, lebanon, while ladies from turkey and nigeria have been successful in winning this title as well.

    while pakistan has never participated in any such global event, there has been never a contest of miss pakistan on pakistani soil. Only exception has been former model Aneeta Ayub who participated in early rounds of event miss asia pacific in Manila, Philippines in 1989 or 1990. She faced a storm of criticism at that time.

    it might be interesting fact for some of us that our neighbor country afghanistan has participated in miss universe competition, zohra daoud an afghani woman was officially declared miss afghanistan in 1972 and then she participated in miss universe peagent.

    • Mariam Shafiq

      Wow! Thanks for providing such detailed information…!

      Yes, the protest was done by some groups and not the whole population. I should have more precise in the article. I will do that just now! 🙂

      Yes, there are many candidates from muslim countries from all over the world every year. I’ve read somewhere that even the fashion in Indonesia is still a bit conservative.. There are some pretty extremist groups out there..

      PS: i never knew an Afghani won Miss Universe contest! That was a surprising bit of information for me. Maybe because that happened way before i was even born!

      • Rashid Nazir Ali

        no zohra daoud had not won the miss universe pageant, but she has officially participated in it, officially means some legitimate authority in country nominates someone to participate in such event. Afghanistan has officially nominated a miss Afghanistan. Though generation of current age consider Afghanistan a conservative country but in 1970’s it was quite liberal.
        But in Pakistan which is considered liberal when compared to Afghanistan nobody has been officially nominated ever as miss Pakistan, in case of aneeta ayub she entered the completion of miss asia pacific by providing some non-official document claiming she is miss Pakistan. But when it came into notice of Pakistani mission in manila, Philippines, they contacted the organizers and informed in Pakistan there is no official body to choose miss Pakistan, and aneeta ayub is not representing Pakistan so miss asia pacific organizers on account of breaching rules of competition expelled aneeta ayub from the competition which was in early rounds, and aneeta could not make it to the main round.