Miss World contest starts in Indonesia amidst protests

Miss World contest starts in Indonesia amidst protests

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Despite protests by Muslim activists, the 63rd edition of the Miss World pageant started off on September 8, 2013 in mostly Hindu resort island of Bali. The opening ceremony was televised in 186 countries and featured Bali’s Kecak Dance and a parade of all 131 contestants.

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Due to protests by Indonesian hard-line Muslim groups and the rejection of the contest by a leading clerics' organization, the government of Indonesia was forced to move the September 28, 2013 final round to Bali. Earlier, the event was supposed to be held in Sentul, on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta. Bali is considered to be the Hindu-dominated province in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country.

The pageant was constantly surrounded by controversy in Indonesia, which has a tolerant and pluralist society that respects freedom of expression. The country's most influential clerics' organization – the Indonesia Ulema Council – and Muslim group activists have constantly put a pressure on the government to cancel the event.

The activists have argued that the exposure of skin by contestants is against Muslim teachings. The protests continued even after the organizers agreed to cut the bikini competition and make contestants wear more conservative outfits.

Photo Credits: MSN

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