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  • » 09/12/2013, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Jakarta hosts 'Miss Muslimah World', the Islamic response to Miss World

    Mathias Hariyadi

    Next week, the capital will host a beauty pageant that "respects" Muslim customs and traditions. For the event, organisers consulted Islamic experts and scholars. Six Muslim nations will be represented. Controversy and threats still surround Miss World 2013 in Bali but for the government, "the show must go on."

    Jakarta (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 sensibilities.

    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 Bangladesh.

    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."

    Organising 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 Muslim traditions.

    Meanwhile, the 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 for women.

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    See also

    07/06/2013 INDONESIA
    Indonesian Islamists "cancel" bikini walk, 2013 Miss World contestants to wear sarong
    The 2013 contest is set for September in Bali and Bogor. In recent weeks, radical Islamists staged protests against the beauty contest because it is against "Islamic values". Jakarta governor, a moderate Muslim, is also against the bikini. The decision to drop the bikini walk was taken to avoid violence.

    27/08/2013 INDONESIA
    Jakarta, Islamic extremists rise against Miss World and anti-terrorist squad
    The notorious Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) demands the suppression of beauty contest, claiming it is foreign to the "national culture" and foments "carnal desire". Densus-88, the special anti terrorist units guilty of killing innocent civilians during a raid, also targeted by fundamentalists.

    20/09/2012 INDONESIA
    Catholic schools in Central Java threatened with closure for not teaching Islam
    Tegal District leaders and Catholic representatives hold special meeting. Sister Madeleine rejects accusations and reiterates her schools' policy, from kindergarten to high school. Muslim parents with children in Catholic schools agree, defending the latter's independence.

    06/02/2013 INDONESIA
    Moderate Muslims and Islamists clash over Chinese New Year
    Controversy surrounds the celebration. For extremists, it is a non-Islamic, Buddhist celebration, and should therefore not be observed. For moderates, it is part of the country's tradition and culture. President Yudhoyono is criticised for failing to protect minorities and stopping fundamentalism.

    01/07/2005 JAPAN
    The Emperor of Japan in Saipan: a symbolic visit

    Despite controversy in the international press, Emperor Akihito undertook this visit to "commemorate, independently of nationality, people who lost their lives in the Second World War".





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