At World Muslimah (Miss Muslim World), in Jakarta, for the first time in the pageant's 3 year history, foreigners are among the 20 finalists: 2 from Nigeria, and 1 each from Malaysia, Brunei, Iran, Bangladesh and the United States.
Eka Shanty, founder of the World Muslimah Foundation, the organization that holds the contest said: "Now people are beginning to see that World Muslimah can be an Islamic alternative to Miss World."
Contestants were selected based on three general criteria: They must be smart, pious and stylish.
Aspiring contestants sent their applications online, including an essay and a video showing their Koran reading proficiency. They must also be wearers of the hijab, or Islamic head covering, in daily life.
At a resort with a large mosque featuring a blue dome and minarets in the West Java district of Subang, the finalists underwent grueling religious and social activities for four days. They woke up at 3 a.m. to perform morning prayers, had lunch with orphans, and attended classes in Islamic finance, parenting and the Koran.
"It's very different from Miss World because their contest is about beauty, while here we have a contest for the beauty inside," said Adeshina, who wore a black flowing dress and a headscarf.
The winner will receive %2,200 dollars, a trip to Saudi Arabia to perform a pilgrimage, and junkets to Turkey and India. The crown holder will also serve as a humanitarian ambassador for underprivileged women in the Muslim world, Shanty said.