updated 24 Sep 2013, 05:17
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Fri, Sep 20, 2013
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Nigerian wins Muslim pageant

Jakarta - A Nigerian woman prayed tearfully and recited Quranic verses on Wednesday after she won a beauty pageant exclusively for Muslim women in the Indonesian capital, a riposte to the Miss World contest that has sparked hardline anger.

The 20 finalists, who were all required to wear headscarves, put on a glittering show for the Muslimah World pageant, strolling up and down a catwalk in elaborately embroidered dresses and stilettos.

The contestants from six countries were covered from head to foot. Apart from their beauty, they were also judged on how well they recited Quranic verses and their views on Islam in the modern world.

After a show in front of an audience of mainly religious scholars and devout Muslims, a panel of judges picked Ms Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola from Nigeria as the winner.

While the event in a Jakarta shopping mall paled in comparison to Miss World on the resort island of Bali, in which scores of contestants are competing, Ms Ajibola was nevertheless overwhelmed.

Upon hearing her name, the 21-year-old knelt down and prayed, then wept as she recited a Quranic verse.

She said that it was "thanks to almighty Allah" that she won the contest.

She received 25 million rupiah (S$2,700) and trips to Mecca and India as prizes.

She had said before the final that the event "was not really about competition".

"We're just trying to show the world that Islam is beautiful," she said.

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