The Indonesian Government’s Decision to Host the Miss World Pageant is not only an Insult to Islam but also an Insult to Women
Hizb ut Tahrir condemns the decision of the Indonesian government to host the degrading Miss World pageant which not only insults and violates the sublime Islamic values of modesty and chastity but also denigrates women, reducing them to objects of men’s desire. This is at complete odds with the high status with which Islam views and treats the dignity of women. This public exposure of women’s bodies for entertainment and male gratification is part of a Western liberal culture that promotes lewdness and sexual freedom which has created societies where promiscuity, extramarital relationships, and family breakdown have become the accepted norm. All this is alien and abhorrent to Islam whose noble morals and beliefs encourage pure relationships between genders as well as strong marriages and family units.
This showcasing and parading of women as products of men’s pleasure is nothing but a revenue-making exercise for the beauty and fashion industries as well as the British based Miss World Organisation that created and manages the pageant. They have made millions from the degradation and exploitation of women’s beauty and bodies. It is clear that to satisfy their hunger for profit, these capitalist organisations are not content with the demeaning and dehumanisation of women within the West, they want to import this humiliation to the Muslim world. The staging of this show in the world’s most populous Muslim majority country only adds to the offence! Capitalism that is driven by the pursuit of profit and whose morals are defined by money, has promoted the use of women’s bodies as a marketing tool of business, cheapening their view within society – all licensed by the corrupt liberal concepts of freedom of expression and ownership. It is this systematic dehumanization and degradation of women by the advertising, entertainment, beauty, fashion, and pornography industries within Western capitalist states such as the UK, US, and Australia that has proven to be a recipe for disrespect, exploitation and abuse of women, contributing to the epidemic levels of violence, sexual harassment, and rape within Western societies. In the UK, an incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute, one in five women in England and Wales have been victims of a sexual offence, and a woman is subjected to rape or attempted rape every 10 minutes. Unfortunately the import of this debased capitalist, liberal culture into the Muslim world by governments in the region who have embraced the detrimental capitalist, liberal system has also caused rising levels of these crimes within Muslim-majority states, including Indonesia. Violence against women continues to be a significant problem internationally, and such beauty shows do nothing to raise the status of women and solve this problem. Rather they function as one of its sources. Miss World is therefore not simply a matter of entertainment, nor a celebration of women’s choice – it is part of a culture that objectifies women and sows disastrous consequences upon their lives. And by agreeing to host this degrading pageant on its soil the Indonesian government has demonstrated that it is willing to accept more of the same. Moreover, those who attempt to justify it based upon increasing tourism or investment for the country, are simply embracing the corrupt capitalist philosophy of placing the dollar over the dignity of women.
Furthermore, the West’s obsession with beauty has caused many women to view their identity and value based upon their beauty, and to see their looks as their passport to success rather than their intelligence, character, skills, and contribution to society. And it has caused Western societies to rank the worth of women according to their level of attractiveness rather than their abilities. This is alongside crushing the self-esteem and confidence of girls and women who are unable to fit the irrational, unrealistic template of beauty that is paraded in the Miss World pageant and constantly peddled out by the beauty and fashion industries – a template that is driving women to take extreme measures and wage a war on their bodies to fit this so-called ideal of beauty to feel valued, including undergoing life-threatening cosmetic surgical procedures, or starving themselves, often with fatal consequences. In the US and UK there are 7 million and 1 million women respectively with eating disorders. It is a problem that is unfortunately growing amongst women in the Muslim world who have also been affected by Western-influenced images of beauty that saturates their societies. All this has been driven by the merciless and conscienceless capitalist system that has encouraged companies to prey on women’s physical insecurities for profit, while simultaneously trying to deceptively present this never-ending beauty quest scam and demeaning parading of women as empowerment! In reality it is nothing but exploitation and oppression! As Muslims, is this really the future we want for our daughters and sisters?
O Muslims! We call you to fiercely oppose the staging of this pageant in Indonesia and the importing of all liberal culture into our lands, including the objectification of women and lewd entertainment culture that spread immorality and are a source of corruption for our youth and societies. As devout servants of Allah who love Allah and your Deen, we urge you to exert your full efforts to replace the capitalist, secular system and all man-made systems in our Muslim lands with the Khilafah state that alone will protect the pure, noble morals and values of Islam, prevent the influx of corrupt culture, and hence create youth of distinguished, exemplary personalities who embody modesty and chastity. Furthermore, it is a system that shuns and prohibits the objectification and exploitation of women, instead obliging that their dignity, status and wellbeing be safeguarded always and that they be valued upon their piety, character and conduct rather than their beauty. This is what true empowerment of women is all about! The Prophet (saw) said,
“إن لكل دين خُلقًا، وخُلُقُ الإسلام الحياء“
“Every Deen (way of life) has an innate character. The character of Islam is modesty (haya).”
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Member of the Central Media Office
of Hizb ut Tahrir