What is a beauty pageant if you can’t see whether or not the girl is beautiful? But this follows a pattern: everywhere we are being forced to accept Islamic supremacism and misogyny as normal. Everywhere that American customs and practices conflict with Islamic ones, American customs and practices must give way.
“Somali-American teen to be first fully-covered Muslim contestant in Miss Minnesota USA,” by Faiza Mahamud and Liz Sawyer, Star Tribune, November 25, 2016 (thanks to Mark):
Halima Aden knows she’ll stand out at the Miss Minnesota USA pageant — and that’s the point.
While other contestants don revealing bikinis during the swimsuit portion of the competition this weekend, she will cover her body from neck to wrist to ankle. Aden, a 19-year-old Somali-American, will wear a colorful headscarf and show only her face.
She will be the first fully covered Muslim woman to compete in the state pageant. She entered intent on breaking barriers for Muslim women, to counter the negative image that they are oppressed.
“The hijab is a symbol that we wear on our heads, but I want people to know that it is my choice. I’m doing it because I want to do it,” said Aden, a freshman at St. Cloud State University. “I wanted people to see that you could still be really cute and modest at the same time.”
But admittance into the two-day competition, which begins Saturday at Burnsville’s Ames Center, does not come without a cost. The pageant has caused a rift between Aden and her mother, as well as some Somali community members who do not support her bid for Miss Minnesota USA.
Social media sites sharing news coverage of her participation were flooded with comments calling her choice to model “haram,” or forbidden by Islamic law. Encouraging relatives took screenshots of the positive messages congratulating her determination, which Aden said kept her going.
Halima Aden tried on at home the burkini she will wear for the Miss Minnesota pageant. At her mother’s request, she added a long skirt to cover the pants of the burkini, which her mother thought immodest.
The backlash was surprising for Aden, who made it clear to supporters and strangers alike that she would not be compromising her religious principles of modesty to compete. After contacting pageant officials, Aden was approved to wear a chaste, two-piece “burkini” during the swimsuit segment — judged on the woman’s self-confidence, physical fitness, poise and grace, among other factors.
“We often tell the ladies that the swimwear competition is really won from the neck up,” said Libby Watkins, assistant director of the pageant. “The Miss Universe Organization, and the state pageant producers, always do our best to make it possible for the contestants to stay true to their upbringing and diverse backgrounds.”
Denise Wallace, executive co-director of Miss Minnesota USA, said the inclusive event supports Aden’s right to wear whatever she feels most comfortable in because the pageant empowers “women to be confidently beautiful.”…