The 2013 Miss World pageant is scheduled to hold at the Sentul International Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia on Saturday September 28th, but Indonesian Muslim hardliners have resumed protests against the pageant, saying it runs against their tradition.
In Jakarta, the capital, about 1,000 members of the hardline Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia rallied outside the building housing the local organiser of the contest, chanting "Allah akbar" (God is great).
There were also protests in the Sumatran cities of Medan and Pekanbaru, and in Makassar, in Sulawesi. Protesters gathered at council buildings, calling on the government to revoke the permit for the contest. The protesters, mostly women, waved banners reading "Miss World Culture Liberalisation Campaign" and "Reject Miss World".
The organiser, MNC media group, said it was not possible to cancel the contest or move the venue, and said the government had given assurances that it would provide security and protection for the event.
"I think there is a misunderstanding," Hary Tanoesoedibjo, head of MNC, said in Bali on Wednesday. "I assure that there will be nothing that runs against our culture. I would not accept if there was a bikini show."
The chair of the Miss World Organisation, Julia Morley, had earlier confirmed that none of the contestants would wear a bikini.
The Islamic Defenders Front, a hardline group with a long record of vandalising nightspots, hurling stones at western embassies and attacking rival religious groups, has pledged to disrupt the event if it is allowed to be held in Indonesia.
JUST IN: under pressure of the protesters, on September 7, 2013, Saturday, the organisers announced that the final of the pageant scheduled to take place on September 28, 2013, will take place on the Hindu-majority holiday island of Bali instead of near the capital, Jakarta.
The announcement is the latest sign, in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation, of fringe Muslim groups’ growing influence on authorities and their power to stymie events they deem un-Islamic.
Although the Miss World organisers had already promised to replace the contest’s trademark bikinis with Balinese sarongs for its beach fashion segment, thousands have taken to the streets this week to denounce the decision to hold the contest in Indonesia.