Indonesia said yesterday the final of the Miss World pageant later this month would take place on the Hindu-majority holiday island of Bali instead of near the capital, after days of Muslim hardline protests.
The announcement is the latest sign in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation of fringe Muslim groups’ growing influence on authorities.
Last year, pop sensation Lady Gaga axed a concert after a series of protests, where radicals dubbed her “the devil,” threatened to burn down the venue and criticized her for wearing only “a bra and panties.”
Although the Miss World organizers had 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.
On Friday, radicals burned the organizers in effigy and branded them “infidels.”
The contest opens in Bali today and later rounds were due to take place in and around Jakarta, with the winner originally set to be crowned outside the capital on September 28.
The government said all events would now be held on Bali, where hardline influence is almost non-existent and where Balinese are used to foreign tourists in skimpy swimwear.
“All the events will now be held at venues in Bali — it will all be concentrated in Bali, until the closing,” coordinating minister for people’s welfare, Agung Laksono, told reporters in Jakarta yesterday.
He said the government had “listened to what the people wanted.”
His comments came after some 600 people joined protests yesterday on Java island.
Some 90 percent of Indonesia’s population of 240 million identify themselves as Muslim.
There was no immediate reaction from the organizers regarding the change of location. (Shanghai Daily)