The last time someone was crowned Miss Iraq was in 1972 and since then the world has been waiting for another beauty queen from those parts. The wait is over as Shaima Qassem Abdulrahman the new Miss Iraq has been crowned.
Recently, she has overcome threats of violence in what she described as a stand for women’s rights.
“I want to prove that the Iraqi woman has her own existence in society, she has her rights like men,” she told NBC News. “I am afraid of nothing, because I am confident that what I am doing is not wrong.”
The pool of nearly 200 participants was whittled down to 10 after death threats were posted to the pageant’s website and Facebook page, according to CNN. The organizers of the pageant delayed the televised event by two months because of the threats and removed the swimsuit portion, keeping with the standards of the conservative Muslim country, replacing it with a more covered outfit. They maintained it was important to put on the event in the face of the violence happening in their country.
Abdulrahman’s family has been affected personally by violence: Two of her cousins were killed fighting ISIS and the 20-year-old economics student plans to use her platform to work on educational initiatives for those displaced by conflict.
While beauty pageants have been criticized in the U.S. for placing too much emphasis on women’s looks, the newly crowed Abdulrahman told NBC she felt the event wasn’t just about judging beauty, but a chance to “to reflect the culture of Iraq.”
“Iraq needed this,” Ahmed Leith, the pageant director, told CNN. “The situation is weak here, and we wanted to celebrate this the same way other countries like Lebanon and others do. To have a sense of normalcy.”
Source: CNN, NBC News….