(AsiaNews) - Next week, Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, the world's most populous
Muslim nation, will host a beauty contest for "Muslim Ladies".
This is the
Islamic response to the Miss World Pageant, scheduled for this week in Bali and
Bogor (West Java) that provoked a furious controversy among the country's extremist
fringes. Because of threats and warnings, the
swimsuit show was cancelled so as not to hurt people's religious
Miss Muslim World
or 'Miss Muslimah World 2013' in the local language will instead be held in
South Jakarta on 18 September with the participation of 20 'beauty queens' from
six Muslim nations, namely Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Nigeria and
One of Indonesian
organisers of the event, Eka Shanty, said that beauty would not be the "primary
factor" or sole yardstick. The
focus will be on the three 'S', she said, namely sholehah (good morals), smart
and style, but undoubtedly participants
will be "beautiful as well."
committee told participants that they must wear "Islamic style"
clothing that reflect "the colours of the Muslim world."
The Committee also
confirmed that "in-depth meetings" were held before the competition with
experts and Islamic scholars to discuss clothing and other items that relate to
controversy surrounding the more famous beauty pageant, Miss World, continued with
the intervention of the Religious Affairs Minister, Suryadharma Ali, who described
the event as "improper" because it violated traditional Indonesian
customs and habits.
However, after a
series of internal conflicts, and Islamist threats, the government in Jakarta decided
to let the pageant go ahead because "the show must go on." Nevertheless,
the authorities in Bali have imposed strict security measures, deploying police
and army units.
In recent years,
Indonesian authorities have given in several times in the face of pressure from
Islamic fundamentalist groups like the Ulema Council (MUI) or the Islamic
Defenders Front, which have 'monitored' manners and morals in the archipelago. For
example in Aceh, the province ruled Islamic radicals, women cannot wear tight
pants or short skirts.
In March 2011,
the MUI also lashed out at flag raising "because Muhammad never did it".
Before that, it issued anathemas against the popular social networking site Facebook, deemed 'amoral', as well as yoga,
smoking, and the right to vote, especially