It may not be your typical beauty pageant, but there was still plenty of glitz and glam as beauty queen “Miss Nigeria” was crowned “Miss Muslimah World,” in Jakarta, Indonesia on Wednesday.
The beauty pageant was organized by the World Muslimah Foundation in direct response to reactions to the mainstream Miss World competition taking place in Indonesia
Miss Nigeria Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola was crowed as the Muslim beauty queen.
Now in its third year, the annual Muslim event is held exclusively for Muslim women.
In the competition, women are assessed with a number of criteria in mind. These include their appearance (in Islamic dress), their piety, religious knowledge and understanding of the Quran.
The annual pageant rejects more common selection tests, such as the “bikini contest,” instead focusing on the empowerment of Muslim women.
However, contestants’ height and weight is posted on the pageant’s website and the event is sponsored by a halal make-up brand.
Organizer Eka Shanti, who founded the pageant three years ago after losing her job as TV news anchor for refusing to remove her headscarf, told AFP that the contest is “Islam’s answer to Miss World.”
“This year we deliberately held our event just before the Miss World final to show that there are alternative role models for Muslim women,” she said in a statement regarding the pageant.
Miss Muslimah World embodies a kind of beauty seen as more acceptable to Islamic hardliners.
“We’re just trying to show the world that Islam is beautiful,” Ajibola said in the capital, Jakarta, before the final got under way, according to AFP.
“We are free and the hijab is our pride,” she said, adding that the pageant was “nothing like Miss World, where women expose their bodies.”