The organizer of Miss World 2013 beauty pageant declared on Thursday, June 5, that the beauty pageant would ditch bikinis amid protests launched by hard-line Muslim groups in Indonesia. According to Adjie S. Soeratmadjie of the RCTI, official broadcaster and organizer of Miss World 2013 in Indonesia, the contestants will be required to wear long Bali sarongs, instead of bikinis.
Soeratmadjie said, "There will no bikini in this year's Miss World pageant to respect our traditional customs and values. This is a sensitive issue in Indonesia. We have discussed it since last year and they have agreed."
Miss World Organization's chairwoman Julia Morley confirmed the decision to axe bikini from this year's competition. "I don't think Indonesia is the only country that has that culture. But we like to work in the manner respectful to every country, and I cannot see why when you go to somebody's country you should not behave respectfully," she told Associated Press.
Morley added that "Indonesia is designing for us a very beautiful one-piece beachwear, and I'm very happy with them." She also said that this year's pageant would include a special beachwear fashion show.
About 90 percent of Indonesia's population are Muslim, while the rest are Christian, Hindu and Buddhist. Although many of them are moderate, a few hard-line groups have been vocal to express their disagreement towards the idea of flaunting women's body.
Council of Ulema, or MUI, said via its cleric that they would send a letter to the president to request the pageant to be canceled. "That contest is just an excuse to show women's body parts that should remain covered," Mukri Aji of MUI's West Java branch told the news outlet.
Last year, Lady GaGa was forced to cancel its sold-out concert in Jakarta because of huge protest from hardliners. Habib Salim Alatas of the Islamic Defenders Front, said at that time, "Her style is vulgar, her sexual and indecent clothes will destroy our children's sense of morality.She wears only panties and a bra when she sings." Beyonce Knowles and The Pussycat Dolls also toned down their sexy clothing when they performed in the most populous Muslim country.