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World Miss Muslimah: Karishma of Ctg 2nd runner up
Observer Online Report
Publish Date : 2014-11-22,  Publish Time : 22:24,  View Count : 0
Tasnime Tarannum Karishma of Chittagong has finally brightened the image of Bangladesh at the 2014 World Muslimah Awards held in Indonesia.

Karishma received the Most Favourite Muslimah Award at the 2014 World Muslimah Awards held at the Hindu temple Prambanan complex in Yogyakarta, Jakarta in Indonesia at about 1am on Saturday. She received the highest number of votes.

However, the eventual champion was a 25-year-old computer scientist from Tunisia, Fatma Ben Guefrache, whose prize included a gold watch, a gold dinar and a mini pilgrimage to Mecca.

"May almighty Allah help me in this mission, and free Palestine, please, please, free Palestine and the Syrian people," she said in a tearful acceptance speech.

UK's Dina Torkia became first runner up and Bangladesh's Karishma second runner up.

Karishma, daughter of Mohammad Mohsin, a businessman of Madarbari of Chittagong and Selina Akhtar, a teacher. She is now a MBBS student of MAG Osmani Medical College of Sylhet.

They were judged not only their appearance but also on how well they could recite verses from the Koran and their views on Islam in the modern world.

"We want to see that they understand everything about the Islamic way of life – from what they eat, what they wear, how they live their lives," said Jameyah Sheriff, one of the organisers.

The World Muslimah Award first drew global attention in 2013 when organisers presented it as a peaceful protest to Miss World, which was taking place around the same time on the resort island of Bali.

While it remains popular in some countries, British-run Miss World has faced frequent accusations that it is degrading to women, and a round in which contestants pose in bikinis has been a lightning rod for criticism.

In an effort to appease hardliners, Miss World organisers axed the bikini round for the Bali edition, but the event still sparked demonstrations from Islamic radicals who dubbed it a "whore contest".

'Headscarves not scary'

British contestant Dina Torkia said she hoped this year's World Muslimah Award would not only provide a contrast to Western beauty pageants, but would also dispel prejudices against Islam.

"I think the most important thing is to show that we are really normal girls, we are not married to terrorists. This scarf on my head isn't scary," she told AFP.

However, the 2014 pageant has faced challenges, with seven finalists dropping out and others struggling with Indonesia's complex bureaucracy to obtain visas.

Most who pulled out did so because their families did not want them to travel alone, Sheriff said.

The Indian contestant missed her initial flight as she was being questioned by officials who were suspicious of a woman travelling alone and wearing a headscarf, although she managed to get on a plane later.

Others have gone to great lengths to take part in the fourth edition of the event, with Masturah Binte Jamil quitting her teaching job in Singapore after her employer would not give her time off to participate.

The finale caps a lengthy process, which included an online audition followed by two weeks of events in Indonesia.

During their time in Indonesia, contestants have visited orphanages and nursing homes, and had their pictures taken at Borobudur, a famous Buddhist temple close to Yogyakarta, Java's cultural heartland.

The finale takes place on a stage against the backdrop of Prambanan, a ninth-century complex of Hindu temples on the island of Java that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hosting the event at a Hindu site was a conscious decision to show that Muslims are accepting of other religions, organisers said.

ZA/ Agencies

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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