YOGAKARTA, INDONESIA- The World Muslimah Award or Miss Muslimah has proved to the world that Muslim women are not much different from western women, except for the headscarves they wear instead of bathing suits.
Miss Muslimah, a Muslim beauty parade, is a competition just like any other beauty competition except for the fact that here the contestants offer prayers five times a day and the jury to choose the winner comprises of orphaned children.
But on the other side, girls are just like any other Western girl as the Instanbul based photojournalist, Monique Jaques comments after attending the competition held in 2014. She says, “I believe that this idea that the West has that the lives Muslim women lead are so different from ours is outdated and naïve.” She further adds, “The girls had as much in common with any other young girl in America. They talked about makeup, television shows and friends just like many young women do.”
But this difference would be very important to many women who have faced problems with career and relationships just for wearing hijab. This award has the history relevant to these women’s problems as it was established by a former Indonesian television reporter, Eka Shanty in 2011, when she was removed from her position due to her refusal to remove hijab on screen.
It is pertinent to mention here that the competition takes 18 young Muslim women from all over the world and it requires that their attire represents modesty and faith. This competition entails style and elegance along with religious piety, development of humanitarian intelligence and strength of character. Prizes range from pilgrimage trips to scholarship.
“I absolutely fell in love with the girls in the competition,”Jaques says. She comments, “It was such a wonderful collection of strong women with clear ideas about who they were and what they wanted to achieve.”
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