The West keeps bending over so far and so deep, soon their tuchuses will be high up in the air. So burkas instead of swimsuits. What next? Will Simon Cowell be judging the festivities?
A Yemeni Canadian will compete in the Miss Universe Canada beauty pageant for the first time, wearing a sari over her bathing suit to avoid offence.
The press release issued by Maria Al-Masani's company about her participation contained a scant three paragraphs. In it, she refers to herself as "a documented direct descendent of Prophet Mohammed."
Was she also descended from the six-year-old child bride and favorite wife, Aisha?
"Yemen is a conservative Islamic country better known for the underwear bomber," the release notes. It also quotes Ms. Al-Masani: "I grew up wearing a niqab, watching Miss Universe on TV," she says. "I love breaking stereotypes!"
There they go again -- using the word "conservative" to describe devout Muslim killers.
The story behind Ms. Al-Masani, however, is more nuanced than that. The contestant runs her own public relations company in Ottawa and originally applied to Miss Universe Canada as a joke. Her friends call her a "Political Econo-Nerd," she said during an interview yesterday. She peppered the pageant application with references to Derrida, Nietzsche and Kant.
Born in Russia, Ms. Al-Masani's family moved to Yemen when she was four years old. She left when she was 16; she stopped wearing a niqab then, saying the facial covering is "un-Islamic." Her studies eventually brought her to Ottawa and Carleton University, where she fell in love with Canada.
Rather than wear a bikini for the pageant's swimsuit segment, Ms. Al-Masani, a SufiMuslim, plans to cover her body with a sari for cultural reasons. The judges will not dock her points for her choice, she said.
What culture? Not Canadian culture.
"There's no way as a Yemeni that I would ever, ever walk in front of cameras in a bikini," said Ms. Al-Masani, 25. "I'd rather be caught dead."
Beauty and talent competitions are often controversial in countries with high Muslim populations. In 2002, the Miss World competition was moved to London from Nigeria "for the sake of the nation," after more than 100 people died in sectarian violence. The riots continued.
And last year, a female contestant in Afghanistan's version of American Idol attracted criticism from conservatives, who argued she was having a negative influence on the country's girls. Her family went underground after they received death threats.