End of road for Muslim Miss Malaysia hopefuls

Sara (behind, photo not blurred) looking disappointed with Jawi’s decision when met on July 29, 2013. — The Malay Mail pic
Sara (behind, photo not blurred) looking disappointed with Jawi’s decision when met on July 29, 2013. — The Malay Mail pic

PETALING JAYA, July 30 — The four Muslim participants of the Miss Malaysia World 2013 pageant will not be allowed to take part in the contest.

Pageant organiser Datuk Anna Lim said the Federal Territories Islamic Department (Jawi) informed her of its decision yesterday.

“Jawi director Datuk Che Mat Che Ali called me to confirm that the women cannot take part in the pageant,” Lim said.

“While the other finalists are geared for the contest, the Muslim women are left with shattered dreams. I took one look at Sara (Amelia Bernard) when she walked in today and I knew the poor girl was stressed by the controversy.

“I hope this decision will not dampen their spirits as the four are beautiful and strong individuals who have so much more to offer,” she added.

Sara, one of the contestants who was met by The Malay Mail yesterday, said she was upset with the entire fiasco.

After attending the pageant week programme at Corus Hotel, she was visibly disappointed by the outcome.

“I am sad I cannot join the others as I have always dreamt of being a beauty queen, but I have to accept the decision.”

The 20-year-old, who was the only contestant present as a guest during the training session which started yesterday, said she has yet to decide on her next course of action.

Asked if watching the other finalists prepare for the contest only added insult to injury, she brushed it off.

“I am sad I cannot join the others, but I am here to support my friends all the way,” said Sara, whose mother is half British and half Malay and father is half German and half Iban.

Sara, who hails from Ipoh, also said she had been lambasted on Facebook since the brouhaha erupted, forcing her to deactivate her account.

“Complete strangers called me all sorts of mean names and left nasty comments on my photos. Some hurled ridiculous accusations at me,” she said.

Sara claimed that she and fellow disqualified contestant Wafa Johanna De Korte, 19, received the most criticism as they were more outspoken over the issue.

“It really opened your eyes to the number of extremists out there.”

Another contestant, Miera Sheikh, was not surprised by Jawi’s decision.

“From the moment we were disqualified, I knew the chances of us being reinstated were very slim,” the 19-year-old said.

“I have chosen not to dwell upon it and instead put the incident behind me. Maybe there are other brighter opportunities for me in the future.”

Sara, Wafa, Meira and Kathrina Ridzuan were dropped from the competition due to a fatwa banning Muslim women from participating in beauty pageants.

The four were accused of insulting Islam after they expressed their dissatisfaction in the media, prompting Jawi to launch an investigation against them.

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