akarta, 20 Nov. (AKI) - Miss Muslim Indonesia, a contest set up as an alternative to the Miss Indonesia beauty pageant which has drawn criticism from some Islamic groups, has won the support of a top religious organisation. "Criticising pornography does not resolve the problem [posed by the Miss Indonesia contest]," the Muhammadiyah organisation's president, Din Syamsuddin, told Adnkronos International (AKI). "That's why we have decided to support the first Miss Muslim Indonesia competition," he added.
Besides traditional attributes such as physical beauty, poise and intelligence, contestants in the Miss Muslimah - the pageant's name - will also have to show they have good moral and spiritual qualities, according to Syamsuddin.
"It's important that our Miss possesses healthy values, excellent habits and a strong faith," he said.
Syamsuddin however denied reports that contestants would also be judged on their knowledge of Islam's holy book, the Koran.
"This is not necessary, what counts is a strong faith," explained Syamsuddin, who is also the deputy president of the Indonesian Ulema Council, the country's top Islamic body.
In July, the radical Front Pembela (Defenders of) Islam pressed charges against the reigning Miss Indonesia, Nadine Chandrawinata (pictured), after she wore a bikini at the Miss Universe pageant.
The charges were based upon an article in the penal code which can be interpreted as prohibiting women in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, from competing in beauty conttests.
While the case made newspaper headlines, prosecutors did not ask for Chandrawinata's indictment and it went no further judicially
Miss Muslimah organisers say their pageant will be held in February 2007 to coincide with the staging of the next edition of Miss Indonesia.