There won’t be any sexy bikinis gracing the runway at the 2013 Miss World pageant in Jakarta, Bali in September. Pageant organizers announced Thursday (June 6) that the contestants are banned from wearing bikinis and instead will don the traditional Indonesian sarongs instead.
Adjie S. Soeratmadjie tells the AP the pageant is trying to be respectful of the traditional customs and values of the people of Indonesia, which is a largely Muslim country. Most Muslims in Indonesia are more moderate, but recent protests from hard-line Muslim groups are what sparked the change for this year.
“This is a sensitive issue in Indonesia. We have discussed it since last year and they have agreed,” says Soeratmadjje.
Julia Morley, chairwoman of the Miss World Organization, adds, “Indonesia is designing for us a very beautiful one-piece beachwear, and I’m very happy with them. … 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.”
The bikini ban may not be enough for some groups, however.
Clerics on the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) say they will send a letter to President Yudhoyono to demand the pageant be canceled.
“That contest is just an excuse to show women’s body parts that should remain covered. It’s against Islamic teachings,” says Mukri Aji, a cleric from MUI.
Lady Gaga had to cancel a show in Indonesia in 2012 after threats she received from extreme Muslims.