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Miss World pageant bans bikinis due to Muslim threats / Commentary

Last year's Miss World entrants in bikinis in Mongolia. Allah hates this! (Barcroft Media)

     Bikinis have been banned from this year's Miss World contest - to ward off Islamic hardliners in Indonesia who threatened Lady Gaga.

     The pageant is taking place in the Far East country for the first time and organisers are wary of upsetting Muslim fanatics. In a bid to calm any tensions, the 137 women will ditch the traditional swimsuit round and instead wear more conservative outfits like sarongs.

     The move comes after pop icon Lady Gaga was last year forced to scrap a gig in the world's most populous Muslim country. The Born This Way singer had sold out a 52,000-seat stadium in Jakarta, but cops ordered her to pull out because of threats. Fundamentalists accused her of "satanic teaching" and called her "vulgar".
They even threatened to stop the megastar from setting foot on Indonesian soil.

     Habib Salim Alatas, of the Islamic Defenders Front, said: “She had better not dare spread her satanic faith here. Her style is vulgar, her sexual and indecent clothes will destroy our children’s sense of morality. “She wears only panties and a bra when she sings and she stated she is the envoy of the devil’s child.”

     Beyonce and the Pussycat Dolls were also both reportedly urged to "cover up" during her gig in Indonesia. Much of this year's Miss World will take place on the idyllic island of Bali where thousands of holidaymakers are allowed to wear bikinis. But the pageant's chairwoman Julia Morley said: "I do not want to upset or get anyone in a situation where we are being disrespectful. "We treasure respect for all the countries that take part in the pageant," she said. 

     Miss World 2013 will take place in September.

Source: The Sun, UK, 6/6/2013

Related stories:

Indonesian Muslims vow to stop Miss World 

Miss World chief cancels bikini round to avoid offending Muslims


     To those of us who are avid followers of beauty pageants, particularly of Miss World, this latest decision by Miss World chairwoman Julia Morley to eliminate bikinis at the 2013 pageant is not surprising, considering that she has had a history of submitting to the customs of the host country even when these customs call for limiting a woman's freedom of choice.

- When the pageant was held in India back in November 2002, it had been been dogged for more than two months by protesters who claimed that it was demeaning to women and undermined India's 5,000-year-old cultural heritage. About 1,500 people, including many supporters of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, were arrested during street protests which culminated with an Indian man burning himself to death outside the venue in Bangalore. 

- In early November 2002, Morley took the pageant to Nigeria, but several contestants boycotted the pageant because an Islamic Sharia court had sentenced a young woman named Amina Lawal to be stoned to death for having been accused of adultery. On Nov. 16 a Nigerian daily ThisDay, published an article written by 21-year-old journalist Isioma Daniel in which she had suggested that the prophet Mohammed might have married one of the contestants. Her statement deeply offended many Muslims. Then on Nov. 20th, Muslim youths in Kaduna sacked and burned a local office of the  newspaper. The violence escalated into a deadly sectarian fight between Muslim and Christian rival gangs. Morley, concerned for the safety of the girls, flew them out of Nigeria to London where the remainder of the pageant was held. 

- Apparently, Morley has not learned from her Nigerian experience; now she's taking the pageant to Indonesia and she still naively believes that her girls would be safe! Morley, like most British liberals, is totally clueless about Islam - the most oppressive ideology in the world specially towards women. And like most liberals, she considers Islamic misogyny as part of the Islamic culture that should be respected by non-Muslims - a belief not shared by individuals who are critical of Islam and many ex-Muslims who have left Islam. Ironically, by not allowing the contestants to wear bikinis, Morley is actually restricting their freedom of choice! This should not be about appeasing the Indonesian Muslims as much as it should be about celebrating womanhood -  free from religious, political, cultural or traditional restraints. As one Critical Beauty Facebook poster commented, "Miss World is a beauty pageant, a beauty with a purpose, not beauty in the eyes of Muslim people!"

     Unlike Islam which forbids women to expose their bodies, Hinduism, on the other hand, tolerates female nudity and the depiction of sexual behavior. I am assuming that the Miss World Organization had not done any research about the dress code in Bali, which is nearly 93% Hindu. Or that MWO had erroneously assumed that the entire country of Indonesia - though secular in its form of government - was controlled by Islamic Sharia Law which imposes severe punishment on "immodestly" attired women, Muslim or not. Perhaps MWO could use the following information the next time it brings the pageant to Bali:

• Dress code in Bali:Bali in a Hindu island and therefore enjoys relaxed attitudes to things of a sexual nature. Hindu art and Balinese dances, often contain deliberately suggestive material. On the beach you can go topless, without too much to worry about, though nude bathing is not cool.

• Out at night you can wear pants, a dress, a skirt, or shorts, no worries. Indonesian women out late in the party scene often wear skimpy outfits, so you can enjoy the tropical climate, and not feel you have to cover up.

• One place where you should cover up, is a Balinese temple. You’ll need a long sleeve, non-revealing shirt, sarong & sash (which you can often rent). You may not enter a Balinese temple during menstruation, as the Balinese consider you ‘sebel‘ (ritually unclean). (Source:

By Rafa Delfin



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