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The 20 finalists, who were all required to wear headscarves, put on a glittering show for the final of Muslimah World, strolling up and down a catwalk in elaborately embroidered dresses and stilettos. However, the contestants from six countries were covered from head to foot, and as well as beauty they were judged on how well they recited Koranic verses and their views on Islam in the modern world.
After a show in front of an audience of mainly religious scholars and devout Muslims, a panel of judges picked Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola from Nigeria as the winner.
After hearing her name, the 21-year-old winner from Nigeria knelt down and prayed, then wept as she recited a Koranic verse.
Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola said it was “thanks to almighty Allah” that she had won the contest. She also told in her interview that the event “was not really about competition”.
“We’re just trying to show the world that Islam is beautiful,” she said.
The winner of the contest received $2,200 and trips to Mecca and India as prizes.
Organisers said the pageant challenged the idea of beauty put forward by the British-run Miss World pageant, and also showed that opposition to the event could be expressed non-violently.
Eka Shanti, who founded the pageant three years ago after losing her job as a TV news anchor for refusing to remove her headscarf, bills the contest as “Islam’s answer to Miss World”.
It would be recalled that thousands have taken to the streets in Indonesia in recent weeks to protest Miss World, denouncing the contest as “pornography” and burning effigies of the organisers.