As TheBlaze reported last month, plans for holding the Miss World pageant this month in Indonesia have sparked protests by Islamic hardliners upset that an event featuring immodestly dressed women is being held in the predominantly Muslim country.
Now, a new rival contest has been announced featuring “pious” Muslim women covered from head to toe. The Muslimah World contest will take place this Wednesday in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, according to organizers interviewed by AFP.
"Muslimah World is a beauty pageant, but the requirements are very different from Miss World -- you have to be pious, be a positive role model and show how you balance a life of spirituality in today's modernized world," Muslimah World pageant founder Eka Shanti tells AFP.
According to Al Arabiya, choosing the 20 finalists from 500 applicants included “competitors reciting the Quran and sharing anecdotes of how they can to wear the headscarf, which is a requirement of the show.”
“The finalists, from Iran, Malaysia, Brunei, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Indonesia, will parade Islamic fashions in what Shanti says is an opportunity to show young Muslim women they do not need to show their ‘immodest’ parts -- including their hair and bare shoulders -- to be beautiful,” writes AFP.
"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?" Shanti says.
Facing the intense backlash from Muslim hardliners, Miss World contest organizers announced they would drop the bikini competition from the contest.
The anti-pageant demonstrations which began earlier this month continued over the weekend, with protesters holding signs which read “Miss World Is Whore Contest,” “Reject Miss World” and “Miss World Go To Hell,” according to the Associated Press.
Other demonstrations have included the burning of effigies of pageant organizers, AFP reports.
Several hundred protesters from the Islamic Defenders Front and the Islamic Society Forum rallied in Jakarta on Saturday, while similar protests were reported in two other Indonesian cities.
The Associated Press reports that pageant events began last Sunday in Bali, a majority Hindu province in Indonesia.
AFP reports that last week, Indonesian officials announced that the Miss World finals would be moved from Jakarta to Bali, but event organizers say it would be impossible to make such a last-minute change. Protesters want the event to be moved out of the country entirely.
According to its website, the Miss World finals will be held on September 28 in Jakarta.