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Miss World Organizer Lashes Out at Indonesia

  • VOA News

Miss World pageant contestants leave Bali International Convention Center after a rehearsal in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia on September 16, 2013.

Miss World pageant contestants leave Bali International Convention Center after a rehearsal in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia on September 16, 2013.

The Indonesian organizer of the Miss World contest is lashing out at the government for moving the entire pageant to Bali in response to pressure by hardline Muslims.

Billionaire Hary Tanoesoedibjo said Monday there is no other option but to follow the orders of authorities and hold the contest on the Hindu-majority island.

“We are [disappointed] because we had prepared for the event for about three years," he said. "The government should have been aware of this. We are worried the move will further tarnish Indonesia’s reputation abroad, and eventually it might affect foreign investment negatively."

The three-week beauty contest started in Bali earlier this month and was scheduled to end at venues near Jakarta next week.

Contest officials had announced they were dropping the traditional swimsuit contest from the program to adapt to the cultural norms of the conservative, Muslim-majority country.

But the move did not satisfy Muslim protesters, who called the pageant un-Islamic and rallied for it to be canceled.

National Police spokesman Agus Rianto said the order to move the contest finals to Bali was done for safety reasons.

“It’s been decided that there are different understandings and perceptions on the pageant," Rianto said. "The most important thing is the pageant goes on well regardless of the venue. There is a lot of consideration to change the venue to Bali, such as the venue circumstances."

The final round of the Miss World contest will now be held in Nusa Dua, in south Bali, on September 28.

Protests by hardline Islamists have forced the cancelation of other events in recent years. A performance by U.S. pop star Lady Gaga was called off last year after protests against her performing in Jakarta.

(This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Indonesian service.)
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