Miss World to continue despite Muslim objection
Jakarta - The Miss World beauty pageant will go ahead in Indonesia next month despite objections from the country's leading Islamic federation, an organizer said on Tuesday.
"We have obtained support from the government so there are no obstacles," said Syafril Nasution, corporate affairs director for RCTI, the organizer and official broadcaster of the event.
"Since the beginning, we have made it clear that the event will not feature bikinis, or make use of anything that is against religious and cultural values," he said. "So we don't really understand why there are still objections."
Amidhan Sabrah, chairman of the Indonesian Council of Ulema, said it was opposed to the event because it objectified women.
"This kind of events turn women into a commodity and that is against Islam," he said. "Maybe in the West it's not a problem, but it should not part of our customs."
Not the religious police
But Sabrah conceded that the council was not a religious police.
"We have the right to object," he said. "Whether the event will go ahead or not it's up to the government."
The semi-official council consists of religious scholars representing the country's various Islamic organizations.
The pageant is scheduled for 28 September in Sentul, on the outskirts of Jakarta.
Last year, authorities in Jakarta refused to issue a concert permit for eccentric American pop diva Lady Gaga following protests by hardline Muslim groups that said her stage act was pornographic.
About 88 per cent of Indonesia's 238 million people adhere to the Islamic faith, making it the world's largest Muslim-majority country.
Most Indonesian Muslims are moderate, but vocal hardline groups have been increasingly bold in pushing their agenda in recent years.