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Nigerian Crowned Muslim Beauty In Contest Aiming To Empower Women

posted 19 Sept 2013, 06:08 by Mpelembe   [ updated 19 Sept 2013, 06:09 ]

Nigerian Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola receives World Muslimah 2013 crown in the beauty contest, where Muslim women participants are judged on non-conventional beauty.

JAKARTAINDONESIA (SEPTEMBER 18, 2013) (REUTERS) -  An array of colourfully-clad contestants, all abiding by Muslim dress code, strutted along a runway in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Wednesday (September 18) for the final of the third World Muslimah contest where Nigerian Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola walked away with the crown.

The contest, exclusive to Muslim female participants, had 20 finalists compete for the title, with judges scoring them not on conventional beauty, but on how well they recited the Holy Koran and their views on Islam.

Ajibola, 21-years-old, won 2,200 USD and a trip to the Muslim holy city of Mecca and another to India.

Coinciding with the Miss World 2013 pageant, which is also being hosted in Indonesia but amid wide controversy, the 2013 World Muslimah contest aims to empower women and present an alternative view of beauty to the more internationally-renown Miss World.

Founder Eka Shanti, a former TV news anchorwoman who lost her job for refusing to remove her Muslim headscarf (hijab), said World Muslimah does not intend to compete with Miss World.

"It is not against Miss World, but against pornography, against sexual appeal in front of the children so women should be well empowered, highly appreciated and also well educated that is the issue," she said.

"If you want to reach the MDGs goal for humanbeings and women, we have to touch Muslim women because the contribution of our property and also our empowerment is coming from the Muslim world," she added, referring to the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which range from combating the spread of HIV/AIDS and reducing poverty rates by half to decreasing child mortality rates and promoting gender equality and empowering women.

The UN aims to reach the eight goals by 2015.

Organisers of the 2013 World Muslimah contest hoped their competition proposed a peaceful alternative to protest than recent street demonstrations against Miss World.

Earlier this month, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Jakarta, where some held signs that read: "Miss World Is Whore Contest" and "Miss World Go To Hell!!!", forcing organisers of the international pageant to cancel the swim swear segment of the competition and move the finale fromJakarta to Bali.

"The decision that has been given to us by the government is that Miss World 2013 will be carried out inBali," Harie Tanoesoedibjo, the billionaire media mogul and head of MNC Media, which is the main organiser of Miss World 2013, told reporters in a news conference on Monday (September 16).

For the first time this year, World Muslimah accepted foreign participants to compete along side locals. Ahead of the final round, at least 500 contestants competed in online rounds to reach the finals, including participants from Bangladesh, Iran, MalaysiaNigeriaBrunei and Nigeria.