Mon, 22 Jul 2013 10:45:00 GMT

My thoughts on being disqualified from Miss Malaysia World because I am Muslim

Sara Amelia Bernard shares her side of the story.


“I've always wanted to join Miss Malaysia, and was so excited to receive news that Muslim girls would be able to participate in Miss Malaysia World this year. It was finally an opportunity to show the world what true Malaysian beauty is. A beauty queen is not merely a pretty face but is intelligent, cultured, well-spoken, kind hearted, warm and friendly. She uses her title to help others and participates in various charities worldwide. The idea of working with underprivileged children and the less fortunate motivated me deeply.

I went for the auditions where I first met the pageant organiser, Miss Malaysia Universe 1990, Datin Anna Lim. She's the type of lady who has a smile that can light up an entire room, a real beauty queen who radiates happiness and warmth wherever she goes. I was told that as a Muslim participant, I would not wear a bikini in the swimsuit round and instead be required to wear something more modest- either a swimsuit with pants or sports attire. I was also informed there that the international grand finals would be held in our Muslim neighbouring country, Indonesia.

At the auditions, I was given an autobiography book written by Datin Anna. In it were amazing tales of her life's adventure. It seems that we were both from Ipoh! I smiled when I flipped through the pages of photographs of her with orphaned children, cancer patients, Miss Universes's from other nations... I was even more impressed to learn that after the competition, she studied in London and became a stock broker! In fact, she also started her own interior designing firm. A true example of beauty with brains! That night I dreamed of following in her footsteps.

The next day, I received a call informing me that I had made it into the Top 20 Finalists! I was estatic and overjoyed. A few days later I joined the other girls for a photoshoot and press launch.

Just as news that four Muslim girls were participants had made headlines, however, it was published that a 'fatwa' existed banning Muslim women in Malaysia from participating in beauty pageants. Wawa, Miera, Kathrina and I were disqualified!

Today I am saddened, disappointed and outraged that in 2013 the country's largest ethnic race cannot participate in Miss Malaysia.

The reason why the 'fatwa' was created in 1996 no longer exists. Competition rules allow Muslim girls to dress modestly. Even if not, shouldn't religion be a personal choice? The first Muslim girl won Miss World USA in 2010, and in UK similarly many years ago.

Miss World pageant isn't about parading women to entice lust in men but to show the elegance and inner beauty of a woman since the organisations aim to help others through charities.

Why prevent us from making the country proud? If wearing tight attire is such a sin, why not ban swimming and gymnastics too?

As I type the last lines to this note, I just received a message from Datin Anna Lim who has made so much effort and braved to fight for our rights:

Please to inform you Dato' Anna Lim has been trying to arrange for a meeting with Datuk Wan Zahidi 'why muslim girls are illegal and sinful to participate in beauty pageants'? She wants to know which part of the Quran states that and hope to have a favourable explaination to this matter. But unfortunately her request on the meeting to discuss this matter has not be granted and no further explaination was made.

Please help our fight for justice, Malaysia. We're standing up against discrimination as this outdated 'fatwa' needs to be ammended.

Thanks everyone for all the love and support!”

What do you think of the ban? Should Sara be allowed to represent Malaysia and compete? Share with us your thoughts and opinion at the comment box below or feel free to email us your stories at

Click on next to see what our readers have to say.

Jul 23, 2013 1:02AM
Have there been any fatwas against corruption?
Jul 22, 2013 9:16PM
I'm sorry for those fans out there. Whoever that agrees with her is not a true muslim because they don't understand ISLAM.She has not been thought fully about ISLAM. And now she is degrading ISLAM. Everything about the pageant is against ISLAM. You want to do good ? You don't show it off. That is what God tells us to do. Because arrogance creeps its way in to your soul when you show off. God tells us to try and keep silent about our good deeds. I don't even want to talk about 'aurat' because she has no clue about it. 
Jul 22, 2013 9:47PM

Dear sis Sara.. understanding Islam as a religion of peace, tolerance or moderate doesn't  mean that you have all the freedom to act as you like.. exposing your curve, your skin, your hip and lingering on the stage of  wilderness filled with perverted men enjoying your body with all the fantasies they have.. common sis, this act has long been forbade in Islam and the most fundamental teaching that is to cover your aurat..


If you think that you are so pretty, there are more prettier ladies than you. If you think that you are so intelligent, there are many more intelligent ladies out there. So what are you? You are just an unfortunate lady fell prey to the infidels who have long sought revenge to the muslim world.. wake up sis, be a true muslimah..

Jul 22, 2013 11:48PM
Being a non- muslim in  m'sia -  1 can only say " No Comment"-  otherwise 1 may be hauled up by the authorities. 1 really emphatise with you..
Jul 22, 2013 8:18PM
FATWA should more look towards on current matter such as for the election. Make it HARAM for PHANTOM voters to vote & HARAM for Minister that not doing their duty (especially in sarawak).
Jul 22, 2013 11:38PM
It is a common saying that "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder". So also, "perversion is in the mind of a pervert".
Jul 22, 2013 8:39PM
"She wants to know which part of the Quran states that and hope to have a favourable explaination to this matter. But unfortunately her request on the meeting to discuss this matter has not be granted and no further explaination was made." ... What are you nuts? The no replies itself shows how little you know about Islam whi**** one of the largest faiths in the world. Do your studies before you ask such idiotic questions. Or when you've done your studies maybe you will ask a better question. How ignorant and to call yourself elegant pageant? More like a dumb blonde.

Abang Othman Fitri, Islam IS HARMONY and a Peaceful religion but it is NOT a pacifist religion, and by saying that it has its ways/rules/methods on doing/handling things whi**** according to the shariah rule. Not by mere opinions, especially opinions of those cultural muslims or secular bigots.
Jul 23, 2013 2:44AM
Assalamualaikum & Good Day,

Sister Sarah, Fatwas are based on Al-Quran and Sunnah. Al-Quran has clearly define what is your Aurat as a Muslimah. If you choose to ignore the Fatwa, as a Muslim you cannot ignore Al-Quran. Involving yourself in a contest that will require you to wear attires that reveal your Aurat is against the teachings of Al-Quran. If you think that Fatwa is outdated, Al-Quran will never be outdated. 
We cant chose what to do things to fit our likings /dislikings. We choose not to eat non-halal food which follow the teachings of Al-Quran. But why cant we follow the teachings on Aurat?
Jul 22, 2013 9:37PM

Why is beauty pageant is "HARAM" in Islam. 1st thing for women to do is to cover their AURAT to be shown.

What the ulama advised is true. We can't simply alter our religion (ISLAM) to the religion according our own lust,need etc.. If one day ulama established "Beauty Pageant" in M'sia then it will be disaster. All of us will be punished in the hereafter. We should not make it liberal our own religion.


Some people understand poligmy in a shallow minded. The men's want to poligmy but didn't follow the Prophet Muhammad Sunnah.. They talk about womens being unjust just because poligmy, but did they realized and condemn a husband keeping mistress at their wives back, or becoming a customer to whore. Enough with Salman Rushidee that pollute the muslims minded.


To answer why is cigar is haram. Everything that caused/harm our body is consider haram. Even the whole world promoting cigar is not good, caused illness to human, not to just the smoker but to the people who INHALE the smoke. We're born muslims but our knowledge is to little. Remember what Ibni Qayyum said "If no one to prevent maksiat,dosa,wait for Allah punishment".Read more about Ibni Qayyum wrote what is the effect from sin,maksiat and the sign of it. 

Jul 23, 2013 4:46AM
I am a Muslim female and I don't think she should have been disqualified. Malaysia isn't an Islamic country, we are a secular state that practices Shariah law. We do not enforce women to wear the hijab, so why the hypocrisy to disallow the competition - especially when conditions have been loosened to allow Muslim participants to dress more decently? What's the difference from banning Muslim female models or actresses? Faith is between an individual and God, and I feel there are bigger issues to tackle about our faith than monitoring some beauty contest.
Jul 23, 2013 4:58AM
 "Please to inform you Dato' Anna Lim has been trying to arrange for a meeting with Datuk Wan Zahidi 'why muslim girls are illegal and sinful to participate in beauty pageants'? She wants to know which part of the Quran states that and hope to have a favourable explaination to this matter. But unfortunately her request on the meeting to discuss this matter has not be granted and no further explaination was made."

Well, if u love your God and want to be a good servant for Him, then please, read His words and UNDERSTAND it before u whine and whine about why this why that. If u r not happy with Allah's word, then my dear, nobody can help u except Him alone. semoga mendapat hidayah Nya di bulan Ramadhan.
I BEG u to read this from al-Quran before writing anything immature.

Al-Ahzab/33: 59

 Al-Nur/24: 31

Jul 23, 2013 2:16AM
Be wise sara, Theres always another way to make world proud. Please respect yourself.
Jul 23, 2013 12:07AM

This religion business is so OVERATED!

in my humble opinion, if you are that obedient, and if you are that true to your religion, let's just leave it to "GOD" to judge them. Why bother? Advice is appreciated but not the one that is destructing someone's dream! I read some of the posts here and they are quite mean spirited..... Don't you think ISLAM is meant to be NICE and PEACEFUL?

Enough already. Check yourself up and practice whatever you believe and be done with it. I believe that ALL RELIGIONS meant to guide people to be good to each other. AMEN!

To Sara and the rest, go chase your dreams!

Jul 23, 2013 2:31AM
Sara, you have nothing to worry about. Like a flower can't choose where it would sprout, neither could you chose your roots. HOWEVER, religion is ALWAYS between oneself and God. Regardless of what so called "society" tells you, YOU are the master of your own life. Many of these so called "virtuous" gurus are great hypocrites when behind all their "justification" against free will, they themselves indulge in so much of these as they are human. Nobody's perfect. And neither is society. Be strong, Sara. Your plight will not go unheeded. God bless you always as you are in His grace no matter what people say! You are master of your own choices!
Jul 23, 2013 12:46AM
to fellow muslim women, wear modestly as in cover your whole body except your face. do good deeds but don't show it. people don't know we ever did some good deeds but Allah s.w.t always know. i feel sorry to some muslims who were raised by irresponsible parents who don't stress religion matter towards their children and they end up grew up as a muslim by name. sara, you're pretty and intelligent. i pray that Allah will let you find the correct path in Islam and be a good muslimah one day. insyaAllah. I suggest fellow muslim to spend some time to seek knowledge for akhirat. Mercy Mission is always there to guide you. May Allah bless all muslim.
Jul 23, 2013 12:24AM

You are a beautiful girl. And you deserve better.


Don't let anything dictate what to do, as you are entitled to your own free will and vision.


Critics will always be there, there is no point in convincing them as they already have their own point of view. Just do what your heart tells you as long as it is nothing negative which might harm other people. Be true to yourself.


Good luck~


For those who are judging her, go and understand where she comes from before opening that poison mouth of yours. Do put your heart on more pressing issues such as crime, ec0n0my, corruption & etc

Jul 23, 2013 11:22AM
I have something to say that might or might not be accepted. But it is something that I need to address about religion. I should probably state that I am someone who is questioning what my religion is, but I am against none. So to the Muslims that are reading this, I hope I have made it clear that I am not attacking you, or others.

To me, all religion is righteous. All religion is good. And all religion is made by God, Tuhan, Allah, Buddha, etc.... depending on what you think yours is. Notice that I say religion and treat it as a singular. Because I think that all religion is the same. Just as how all humans are the same. If you try to study the many different religions, with an open mind and accepting heart, you will find that they all seem to point in the same direction and that they are interconnected and surprisingly alike one another.

You could have different languages, skin colour, culture, ways of thinking, eating, sleeping, everything. But we are all humans. Heck, if you want to expand the horizon even further you could even say we are all living things on this planet at the same level as other plants and animals. But for the sake of this long winded comment I'll stick to us humans being the same. Lol..

The only thing that separates us humans is our mentality. Like I said, all religion is the same. But Human thoughts are different, and that is why there is so much beautiful diversity among our species. So perhaps the idea that there are different religions come from the many ways we humans interpret it. Different people from different places would translate the words and teachings of God, Tuhan, Allah or Buddha differently. So I can understand why there seems to be so many different religions. But what I will never be able to comprehend is why the people who practice said religions have to make it a point that they are better than others or that theirs is the only way to God, Tuhan, Allah, Buddha, etc... 

So please consider, if religion is what it is meant to be, if it is the teaching of God, Tuhan, Allah, Buddha, that no matter which you practise, and if your heart aims to do good, wouldn't you eventually find your way there? Then why is there such rifts between different religious groups? Why do humans need to attack one another for their different race, language, and religion?  (I can think of only one answer, and that is that humans have a need to feel superior over others.) 

PS: I am just a person with thoughts and questions. I have no mind to cause trouble or attack anyone's religion. You can argue though, I wouldn't dream of robbing anyone from that pleasure. :)

Peace and love.
Jul 23, 2013 12:44AM

If Muslim ladies are not allowed to participate, I wonder they may later said Muslims are not

allow to watch beauty contest in TVs.  

Jul 24, 2013 11:42AM
Salam. Dear Sara, you don't need the title in order to help the underprivileged children and the less fortunate and also to participate in various charities worldwide. A normal human being without a title can do all that. U can join various organizations that help these people. E.g: Mercy Relief, UNICEF, etc.. Whatever it is, don't let your spirit of helping others tear apart just because you can't take part in the pageant. You do have a nice heart. You can still do all that despite not being allowed to to compete in Miss Malaysia World. :-)
Jul 23, 2013 12:32AM

Well we consume sugar,salt,overdose then you get disease. As for radiation that caused by technology it's the human that creates those things rite.. It's human who injected chicken, cow, with antibiotics that in long terms we consume  that can cause cancer. Do we need cigarette in our daily lives? We smoke that for what? For us to live? Come On HELLO, I'll can joted down things that we eat, we drink, tech that we used that harm us and so many things. We as a human can create wonderfull things that not 100% safe at a very least, because human are not perfect. But sometimes greedy people always manipulated things for their own wealth. FYO Bill Gates support generic food that will control human population because the more people is the more food we need to produce..


If you HELLO want's to talk about environment polution,air pollution,that you mention just now I'll explain who get's richer behind all this. 

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