LONDON: The competition of Miss England 2108 is about to culminate with an unexpected contestant this year. Maria Mahmood became the first-ever hijab wearing Muslim to contest the competition.
The 20-year-old beauty queen who has made it to the semi-finals is hoping to reach the finals. If Maria wins Miss England, she will go on to compete in Miss World.
Prior to this, a Muslim contestant has won the title but no contestant has ever competed wearing a hijab.
Maria is from Birmingham and a psychology student at the Newman University.
She bagged a place in the semi-finals after finishing runner-up in last week’s Miss Birmingham which was her first-pageant ever. The beauty queen aims to be a social worker. She has decided to compete in Miss England’s swimwear round by wearing a burkini.
Maria says that her friends and family are supportive of her decision.Her parents have been supportive of her decision and are proud of her.
She said that even though most of the people around her are positive she expects a backlash from some of the ‘old-timers.’
“Muslims are associated with negative things like terrorism. I’m determined to do my bit to challenge those views. It is pretty rare for a Muslim woman to be in a beauty pageant but there’s nothing to stop us entering. I entered Miss Birmingham and the organizers were delighted to have a hijab-wearing Muslim in the competition.”
Previously Hammasa Kohistani was the first British Muslim who became the first Muslim beauty contestant to be crowned Miss England in 2005.
She was crowned at the age of 18, following a two-day competition in 2005, and was chosen from 40 contestants.