Sunday, January 22, 2006

What does it take to be a "Miss Muslim"?

By Damir Ahmed,

IOL Correspondent
MOSCOW , January 21, 2006 ( –

Morality and impressive knowledge of Islam and other subjects were the basic criteria for choosing Dilar Sadiqova as "Miss Muslim" in the eastern European country of Tatarstan.
"I decided to take part in the competition to convey the message that you can be a Muslim and still do whatever you want as long as it is moral and respectable," Sadiqova told reporters after her acceptance speech.
"Thus, non-Muslims can have an undistorted vision of our religion," added the 17-year-old high school student, who wish to be a school teacher.

There was no room in the competition for girls in swimsuits like the traditional beauty pageants, but modestly-dressed and hijab-donned girls in demure smiles, the organizers told
Brains and religiosity set the tone for the unprecedented contest in Tatarstan, where Muslims make up 60 percent of the country’s four million population.

The competition included Qur’an memorization and recitation tests, as well as a set of questions, testing cultural mettle of the 56 contesters.

They also took cooking and sewing tests for more points.
Only eight girls, aged 15-19, made it to the finals of the cut-throat competition.
The ceremony was held at the Celebrations Hall of the Grand Mosque in the capital city of Kazan . The audience were all females.

Saida Abukofa, the head of the jury, said the competition aims to encourage more Muslim girls who do not wear hijab to take on the Islamic dress code.
"They see their Muslim peers who wear hijab as beautiful, well-educated and religious," she added.
"We want to show that beauty has nothing to do with nudity and obscenity."
Under Islam, beauty contests in which women’s `awrah (parts of the body which should not be exposed in front of others) is uncovered, are prohibited.
Muslim scholars have called on Muslim countries to organize a "Miss Morality" competition to offset the increasing interest by Muslim nations in Western-styled beauty contests.