Indonesia Cancels Bikinis for 2013 Miss World Pageant

WenXia Yu, 23, from the People’s Republic of China won the 2012 Miss World competition which took place in Ordos, China last year.

WenXia Yu, 23, from the People’s Republic of China won the 2012 Miss World competition which took place in Ordos, China last year.

JAKARTA — 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 hardline Muslim groups, organizers said Thursday.

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.

The pageant will be held Sept. 28 on the resort island of Bali and in Sentul, an area 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 hardline 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.

6 Responses to Indonesia Cancels Bikinis for 2013 Miss World Pageant

  1. The world will be a much much more peaceful place if Muslims also respect the values of other people.

  2. The chairwoman of the Miss World Organization, Julia Morley needs to change her smoke. What was she thinking – to select Bali and Sentul, Indonesia as the venue for the Miss World pageant? This country is the world’s most populist, illiterate and intolerant Muslim country. Islam and the flesh are like the devil and the deep blue Sea for these folks; yet Julia Morley chose this country as the venue. We have so many beautiful venues around the world Miss. Morley, unless your geography is not your cup of tea and you like to present 16 virgins from the Miss World Pageant to the guy upstairs.

  3. Repressive theocratic states should be cut off from the rest of the world and shunned.

  4. it is apparent that the world now has to aknowledge the fact that we Muslims will take over all the world in future. start from France. UK to India. Nothing can stop us.

  5. How could one present or let the audience see her form, her body fitness and structure without the typical dress e.g. bikini or more appropriate lingerie. If that country or culture doesn’t agree with that international norms, it’s better to find another country for the international assessment.

  6. Islamic world in the future? That will be terrible for sure! May the forces of righteousness overcome evil!

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