Miss World pageant confined to Bali after protests

Sept. 8, 2013 at 2:28 PM
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BALI, Indonesia, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The Miss World pageant will be restricted to the island of Bali and bikinis will give way to sarongs after hard-line Muslims objected, Indonesian officials say.

Several Islamic organizations protested staging of the event, which runs through Sept. 28, in the predominantly Muslim country, criticizing in particular the bikini contest, which is considered offensive in Indonesian culture, Antara News reported. Before the protests, pageant events were to have taken place both in Bali, whose residents are predominantly Hindu, and Jakarta, where Islam is the dominant religion.

"We have revised the security permit [allowing the pageant] to be held completely in Bali," Angung Laksono, coordinating minister for people's welfare, said at a press conference Saturday, the day before the pageant's start. "So changes have been made with regard to Miss World activities according to what the public wanted and the development interests of Indonesian tourism. So the event will proceed, but only in Bali.

"Of course, it is not a problem if participants of the Miss World contest visit other tourist locations, such as Borobudur Temple or Yogya, while here."

He said the bikini contest has been banned.

"What has become a problem are swimsuits or two-piece clothes or a bikini contest, which is required in other countries. Now it is absent. The committee has required it. Participants would even be asked to wear local costumes," said Sapta Nirawander, deputy minister of tourism and creative economy.

Extra security precautions were being taken in light of the protests, Gen. Timur Pradopo, head of the national police, said.

Several elimination rounds were under way Sunday and some of the Miss World contestants took part in a golf tournament when not rehearsing, the pageant's website stated.

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