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World Beauty Queens Face Off Against Islamic Fundamentalists

In response to Lawal’s death sentence, Miss World contestants from Switzerland, France, Belgium, Ivory Coast, Norway and Kenya have withdrawn from the beauty pageant, according to BBC News. Contestants from Germany, Finland, Togo and Poland may join the boycott, which would harm the “biggest media event ever held” in Nigeria.

An Islamic appeals court in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Nigeria’s northern state of Katsina upheld a lower Islamic court ruling that sentenced 31-year-old Amina Lawal to death for having sex outside of marriage.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
Twelve Nigerian states have adopted “Sharia law,” an Islamic justice code, which includes amputation for theft, stoning for adultery and flogging women for exposing too much flesh. The adoption of Sharia has contributed to ethnic and religious violence across Nigeria, an African nation with roughly 120 million people.
 
In response to Lawal’s death sentence, Miss World contestants from Switzerland, France, Belgium, Ivory Coast, Norway and Kenya have withdrawn from the beauty pageant, according to BBC News. Contestants from Germany, Finland, Togo and Poland may join the boycott, which would harm the “biggest media event ever held” in Nigeria.
 
A representative of the Miss France committee called the death sentence “barbaric and unacceptable,” according to BBC News.
 
England’s Observer newspaper reported that Miss Togo said, “Stoning this woman is not right. The authorities and all of society should rise up to end this sort of practice.”
 
In his letter, Dubem Onyia, Nigeria’s minister of state for foreign affairs, said, “It is worthy to mention that in the history of justice in Nigeria no woman has ever been punished in such a dastardly manner as pre-empted by this case and this will not be an exception.”
 
Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper reported that “militant Islamic groups in Nigeria” have threatened the pageant, calling it a “parade of nudity” and saying it would promote promiscuity and HIV/AIDS.
 
In mid-August, Nigeria’s minister of culture and tourism advised pageant organizers to avoid Nigerian states under Sharia, the BBC News reported.
 
The event itself is to be held in the nation’s capital, located in a state without Islamic law.
 
The reigning Miss World, Agbani Darego, is a Nigerian and the first black African woman to wear the Miss World crown. During last year’s contest, she told officials she was a born-again Christian.
 
Read other EthicsDaily.com articles on Sharia:
 
Nigeria’s Christian President Speaks to Islamic Court’s Death Sentence
Under Sharia the Punishment Doesn’t Always Fit the Crime