Muslim Miss Universe refuses to wear a bikini in swimsuit round, makes history

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London: Before participating in the Miss Universe Great Britain pageant this July, Muna Jama, a Muslim woman and the founder of a start-up to address child abuse and issues that force migration, on Monday, made it clear that “I wouldn’t wear a bikini to the beach, so I’m not going to wear one in a competition to score points,” she told Metro U.K, a British newspaper.

While the competition, which is a qualifier for the Miss Universe pageant, hadn’t previously allowed this kind of substitution, the organizers ended up giving Jama the OK. So Jama decided instead to wear something far more covered, and more align with her taste and preferences: a Kaftan.


A kaftan or caftan is a variant of the robe or tunic, which has been worn by several cultures around the world for thousands of years. The kaftan is often worn as a coat or overdress, usually reaching to the ankles, with long sleeves.

“It takes bravery, emotional resilience and most importantly surrounding yourself with strong minded people who are prepared to make great sacrifices to welcome permanent and positive change,” she wrote on her Instagram. “This moment has proved that I am capable of almost anything I set my mind to and limitations is a status waiting to be changed. I thank everyone who stood beside me and believed in my vision.”

Jama made history by being the first competitor to ever wear a Kaftan during the swimsuit round. She took to the stage decked in a multi-coloured Kaftan, platform heels, a bedazzled choker and hoop earrings.


Previously, Halima Aden made the history-making decision in 2016 to wear a hijab and a burkini during the Miss Minnesota USA pageant.

After the competition, which she did not win, Jama continued to feel the love on Instagram. As one person wrote: “You have inspired many who probably thought they couldn’t.” Another wrote, “Thank you for standing up for what you believe.”

She told Metro UK: “I wouldn’t wear a bikini to the beach, so I’m not going to wear one in a competition to score points.” After discussing it with the pageant heads, they decided that she would be allowed to cover up if she chose to.


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