Written by Staff Writer
20 Dec, 2015 | 10:15 pm
A 20-year-old green-eyed girl from Kirkuk was chosen Miss Iraq in the first national pageant in over four decades. The final had to be moved from Basra to Baghdad after threats from conservative Muslims.
Eight contenders competed for the crown and a chance to represent Iraq in the Miss Universe contest. Organizers tried to stick to criteria of the international event, but made concessions to cultural sensitivities.
For instance, no swimsuit walk was allowed and the evening dresses worn by the contestants were all below the knee. However, the girls were also prohibited from wearing headscarves.
There was more talking than glamorous strutting during the pageant as the contestants pitched their charity projects. One suggested repairing the Mosul dam, the largest in the country and reportedly badly damaged during the fighting around the city. The winner, Shaymaa Abdelrahman, said she would push for educational programs.
Security concerns prompted the relocation of the pageant’s final from Basra to Baghdad. Two contestants dropped out of the competition after receiving death threats. The organizers say they were accused of “supporting Zionism” by the country’s Sunni community.
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