Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Transmission

Uzbekistan, Kosovo Join Miss World Club

Finalists in the 2012 Miss World beauty pageant at the event in Ordos City, China in 2012.
Finalists in the 2012 Miss World beauty pageant at the event in Ordos City, China in 2012.
The Miss World pageant has announced that Uzbekistan and Kosovo are among the countries planning to field their first-ever entrants in the world's longest-lived international beauty contest.

Indonesia is hosting this year's pageant in September, with events planned in Indonesia's capital city, Jakarta, and the province of Jakarta.

Other first-timers are Cameroon and Guinea, bringing the total number of competitor countries to 110.

Participation requires a financial commitment and national pageant infrastructure -- via a licensee -- to choose a candidate.

But it can be controversial, as when the organizer of the Miss Malaysia World contest felt obliged to withdraw four Muslim finalists after a regional mufti's fatwa declared beauty pageants insulting and un-Islamic. As one Malaysian cabinet minister was quoted as saying, it's "not about the rule of no bikinis. The fatwa clearly states that Muslim women cannot join beauty pageants."

The swimsuit competition is the oldest (and most controversial) element of the Miss World contest but has been abandoned in light of conservative religious and societal tastes in the host country.

The "Beach Fashion" event this year will instead be a parade of contestants in sarongs, the loose-fitting wrap that is prevalent throughout much of South and Southeast Asia, as well as in parts of Africa, Arab countries, and many island nations.

Uzbekistan is the third of the former Soviet republics of Central Asia in the competition, after Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Tashkent-born Rahima Ganieva was crowned in a national competition in late July.
Miss Uzbekistan Rahima GanievaMiss Uzbekistan Rahima Ganieva
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Miss Uzbekistan Rahima Ganieva
Miss Uzbekistan Rahima Ganieva

The Miss World pageant took the extra step of including some points of interest about Ganieva's homeland in its "Introducing... Uzbekistan!" announcement:

Here are five interesting facts about Uzbekistan!

1. The way to greet an Uzbek woman is by bowing to her with your right hand placed over your heart.

2. Al-Khwarizmi, who introduced the use of Arabic numbers and founded algebra, was born in Uzbekistan.

3. In 2002, ancient pyramids were discovered by Russian and Uzbek archaeologists in the Kashkadarya & Samarkand regions of Uzbekistan. They are believed to be as much as 2,700 years old.

4. Uzbekistan is one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world. (The other one is Liechtenstein.) A doubly landlocked country is one that is landlocked by other landlocked countries.

5. In Uzbekistan, lipioshka (bread) is never laid upside down and is never put on the ground, even if it is in a bag.

Kosovo is to be represented by 21-year-old Antigona Sejdiu.

Pristina has fielded contestants in the rival Miss Universe competition since 2008, when it declared independence from Serbia. Kosovo is still unrecognized by Serbia and Russia -- both of which will be competing in Indonesia in September -- though it has been recognized by 101 countries worldwide.
Miss Kosovo Antigona Sejdiu
Miss Kosovo Antigona Sejdiu

Kosovo also has sent beauties to the Miss Earth competition, an international contest that aims to promote environmentalism.

Such international pageants are under increased pressure from critics who regard them as insulting to women, but they continue to draw major sponsorship and entertainment deals.

The Miss World pageant grew out of a bikini contest that was purportedly renamed once organizers learned that a Miss Universe competition was on the way.

It fell under a cloud when it chose Nigeria's capital, Abuja, to host its 2002 competition at a time when a Nigerian divorcee was facing execution by stoning under Shari'a law for having a child out of wedlock. That woman, Amina Lawal, later had her sentence overturned.

China won the Miss World competition in 2012, when it also hosted the spectacle.

-- Andy Heil
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bill Webb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
August 08, 2013 12:34
We couldn't expect muslim men to allow their subjugated baby machines to take part in a celebration of female beauty. Does this regional mufti issue presidential proclamations as the official interpreter of Islamic law? They could wear a burqa in the swimsuit competition. Wouldn't that turn some heads!
In Response

by: Gjon from: Gjirokastër, Albania
August 09, 2013 17:18
Except Kosovo wasn't allowed to join the Miss World competition for political reasons. Kosovo, despite Serbian propaganda, is a very secular state with a very dynamic youth that is extremely Western oriented more so than perhaps any other Balkan state. Most Albanians are not really into religion or Islam, in fact most of these so called muftis are not really Albanian, they are more than likely of Osmanli origin, which can be clearly seen in their morphology, nature and manner. But that, unfortunately, is the outcome of 500years of gruesome Ottoman rule. There are many bastardized people in the Balkans and among those are those forces that want to return to the olden days of tyrannic rulership over the general population. That is however where the US and EU can help, by giving a helping hand to those people who seek to see their lands prosper and give their young people a chance and prospect to a better future. But these things take time, we are after all talking about the Balkans. A region that has only tasted freedom for the last few decades. Rome wasn't build in a day, but neither can a warstruck region be rebuild in a day, all Balkan people have lost a lot and have been deeply scarred and it is not something that can go away just like that without healing.
In Response

by: Frunze from: Bishkek
August 11, 2013 18:02
The capital of Indonesia is Jakarta, not Bali.
In Response

by: Moderator from: Prague
August 12, 2013 11:49
You're right, of course. We've changed the story. Thanks for the catch!

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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