Indonesia will ban bikinis for the swimsuit competition part of the 2013 Miss World Pageant, according a Thursday report by International Business Times.
The pageant, to be held in Indonesia on Sept. 28, will have woman wear beach sarongs instead, after local Muslim groups protested that bikinis were not modest and did not follow their conservative values. Indonesia has an 87.2 percent Muslim population, according to the 2010 census.
Although bikinis played a major role in the pageant, which has featured more than 130 countries in the last 60 years, they were banned from the competition this year out of respect for Indonesia’s more conservative values, according to The Associated Press. Organizers had been discussing the plan to switch to a sarong since last year.
Spokeswoman Adjie S. Soeratmadjie said on the pageant television network, Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia, that the Miss World Organization accepted the decision to ban bikinis. Bikinis will not be present at the pageant in order to respect the country’s value and customs, The AP noted.
Miss World Organization spokeswoman Julia Morley spoke to Agence France-Presse, saying, “We treasure respect for all the countries that take part in the pageant.”
Mukri Aji, a cleric from the Indonesian Council of Ulema, said bikinis were against the teachings of Islam. According to Aji, “That contest is just an excuse to show women's body parts that should remain covered."