Denmark is facing a renewed bout of Muslim protests after a television station chose an Iraqi woman to be Miss Headscarf 2008.I'm sure that Miss Mantilla can't be far behind!
The television programme reviewed videos posted online by 46 woman wearing the veil prescribed by Islamic ideals of modesty before choosing 18-year-old Huda Falah.
But there was a furious reaction from some members of the Islamic community which is already antagonised by the Scandanavian nation's role in a cartoon scandal involving the Prophet Mohammad.
"The whole point of the headscarf is that it's a symbol of chastity," said spokeswoman Bettina Meisner. "We don't wish young women to expose themselves as objects."
Public broadcaster DR1 declared Falah the winner with a commentary that attempted to avoid inflammatory commentary on her looks. Falah was chosen because the light blue Islamic headscarf was "a fantastic and shocking colour," said Uffe Buchhardt, one of the judges.
The Iraqi victory lives in Denmark and in the tradition of beauty contest winners said she had come forward in the noble hope of promoting understanding between the country's youth. She was insistent that a headscarf is a girls best friend.
She said: "The woman is like a diamond and you don't show it to everyone."
The contest highlights a continuing debate over Islamic traditions in Denmark, which drew world attention in 2006 when Danish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad triggered violent protests in Muslim countries.
Denmark's embassy in Islamabad was bombed by al-Qa'eda last month, an attack that fulfilled Osama bin Laden's promise to avenge reprinting in Danish papers of a cartoon depicting Islam's Prophet Mohammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban.
Organisers of the month-long television competition said they started it as "an alternative way of encouraging young people to participate in the debate, by addressing them on their terms," DR1 said, adding it was a fashion – not a beauty – contest.
First prize in the contest included an iPod, a headscarf designed by a Danish fashion boutique and a one-year subscription to the English-language Muslim Girl Magazine.
She said by participating in the contest she hoped to help remove barriers between young Muslims and Danes "who don't talk easily because of the image [of Muslims] created by the media."
The contest has sparked little debate in Denmark where the government has said it will introduce laws to bar judges in court from wearing religious attire or insignia, including Islamic head scarves, crucifixes, Jewish skull caps and turbans.
But the Islamic Faith Community, a small Copenhagen-based Muslim organisation, had advised young women not to participate in the contest.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Miss Headscarf 2008
Via The Telegraph, this slightly surreal offering: