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Indonesia axes bikinis for 2013 Miss World pageant

By Niniek Karmini

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:34 a.m. HST, Jun 06, 2013


JAKARTA, Indonesia » Miss World has axed the famed bikinis from this year's pageant in Indonesia, replacing the skimpy swimsuits with conservative beach sarongs amid mounting protests from hard-line Muslim groups, organizers said today.

All of the more than 130 contestants will be required to wear Bali's traditional long sarongs instead of the sexy bikinis that are historically part of the competition, said Adjie S. Soeratmadjie of the RCTI, the official broadcaster and local organizer.

Parts of the pageant will take place on the resort island of Bali and the final round will be held Sept. 28 near the capital, Jakarta. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country.

"There will no bikini in this year's Miss World pageant to respect our traditional customs and values," Soeratmadjie said, adding that the London-based Miss World Organization is on board with the decision.

"This is a sensitive issue in Indonesia. We have discussed it since last year and they have agreed," he said.

The chairwoman of the Miss World Organization, Julia Morley, confirmed that none of the 137 contestants would wear a bikini.

"Indonesia is designing for us a very beautiful one-piece beachwear, and I'm very happy with them," she told The Associated Press by phone from London, adding that the pageant will include a special beachwear fashion show.

"I don't think Indonesia is the only country that has that culture," Morley said. "But we like to work in the manner respectful to every country, and I cannot see why when you go to somebody's country you should not behave respectfully."

The pageant began in the 1950s, and the first winner was crowned in a two-piece bathing suit.

Soeratmadjie said the sarong would be made creatively and designed specifically for the event.

Controversy over the pageant has been mounting in Indonesia, which has a reputation as a tolerant, pluralist society that respects freedom of expression.

Clerics of the Indonesian Council of Ulema, or MUI, said they would send a letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to demand that the beauty pageant be canceled.

"That contest is just an excuse to show women's body parts that should remain covered," said Mukri Aji, a prominent cleric from West Java province's MUI branch. "It's against Islamic teachings."

Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, a hard-line Islamic group, said it planned to stage a protest and called for the competition to be moved elsewhere.

Most Muslims in Indonesia, a secular country of 240 million people, are moderate, but a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years.

They have pushed through controversial laws — including an anti-pornography bill — and have been known to attack anything perceived as blasphemous, from transvestites and bars to "deviant" religious sects.

Lady Gaga was forced to cancel her sold-out concert in Indonesia in May following threats by Islamic hard-liners, who called her a "devil worshipper." Jennifer Lopez toned down her sexy outfits and dance moves during a show in Jakarta last December.







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livinginhawaii wrote:
It is unacceptable to allow religious influence in a non religious event.
on June 6,2013 | 06:41AM
honopic wrote:
Absolutely correct. Even if Muslims were a majority in Indonesia, it would be inappropriate to impose their sanctions on a world-wide competition. If Indonesia ever hosted the Summer Olympics, would female athletes have to compete in burkhas? Iran, I could understand. Saudi Arabia, as well. But when a religious minority can dictate what women can wear, it is insulting to everyone.
on June 6,2013 | 02:52PM
Sid_Hartha wrote:
But beheadings are acceptable.
on June 6,2013 | 06:54AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Yes as long as the beheadee is not in a bikini.
on June 6,2013 | 07:18AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
If it were Trump, I might agree with the beheading.
on June 6,2013 | 09:11AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Trump in a bikini? That's worse than a Trump without any hair.
on June 6,2013 | 10:40AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Can't wait for the burkha beauty pageants. Even you and I could enter that one.
on June 6,2013 | 12:07PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
He has hair?
on June 6,2013 | 12:29PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
My thoughts exactly.
on June 6,2013 | 12:30PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Notice that Indonesia does NOT say anything about all the foreign visitors who were bikinis in Bali. Of course, they don't want to offend the money-spending visitors, huh?
on June 6,2013 | 08:10AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
No bikinis? Just proves these guys are stoopid as well as crazy. I heard they don't allow beer either.
on June 6,2013 | 09:11AM
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