Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola of Nigeria won the title of 2013 Miss World Muslimah, an Islamic beauty pageant, on Wednesday in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Ajibola, 21, fell to her knees and thanked “almighty Allah” as she was crowned the winner and received her prizes of 25 million rupiah ($2,189.25) and trips to Mecca and India.
“We’re just trying to show the world that Islam is beautiful,” she told Agence France-Presse.
The contest, according to BBC, was launched in 2010 as a response to the Miss World pageant, this year to be held Saturday, Sept. 28. More than 130 contestants from all over the world will compete at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center in Indonesia for Miss World, which is run by Julia Morley.
The Miss World Muslimah competition is much different, with contestants judged on looks as well as ability to recite from the Quran, relationship with Islam, and when they began wearing their headscarf, a requirement in the pageant.
Eka Shanti, a former television news broadcaster who lost her job for refusing to remove her headscarf, launched the pageant three years ago “to show that there are alternative role models for Muslim women,” she told AFP.
“It’s about more than Miss World,” she said. “Muslim women are increasingly working in the entertainment industry in a sexually explicit way, and they become role models, which is a concern.”
On the World Muslimah Facebook page, the organization’s goal is stated as “to strengthen Muslim women self development & character to become Sholehah, Smart & Stylish.”
The Guardian reported 500 or more contestants initially competed during a round of online questions, but 20 finalists from six countries – Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia and Nigeria – competed as finalists on Wednesday. Leading up to the final pageant, contestants underwent three days of “spiritual training,” took walks before dawn and studied the Quran together, BBC reported.
Protests have erupted for the upcoming Miss World pageant, which was initially to be held in Jakarta but moved to resort island Bali for security and safety concerns. Contestants in Miss World have also been banned from wearing bikinis and must wear sarongs because “the public wanted” it that way, Indonesian Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Angung Laksono said.
On the other side, the Miss World Organization has criticized the Indonesian government for its lack of support.