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In praise of a Muslim Miss

Esma Voloder, a Bosnian-Australian who just been crowned Miss World Australia 2017, apparently is having some tough time with reactions to her victory:

Newly crowned Miss World Australia Esma Voloder has fired back at “hurtful” people who claim the Muslim woman does not represent our nation, saying: “Life if too short for negativity”.

“I forgive them … I feel it comes from a lack of understanding,” the 25-year-old said yesterday.“ I am hoping to break down the barriers by just being me.”

Miss World Australia national director Deborah Miller has told The Daily Telegraph that since Ms Voloder was crowned last Friday, the organisation had fielded many “awful and mean” calls demanding she be replaced.

“We have had lots of calls, people saying terrible things,” Ms Miller said. “People have said: ‘How did you let a Muslim win?’. We believe Esma is a strong woman and represents a multicultural Australia.”

Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of a beholder. People can have endless arguments as to which one of the finalists was the most attractive and most deserving of the crown, and there will never be any consensus.

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On the other hand, I would consider it worrying if Esma was made Miss Australia not on her merits but because of the judges’ misguided desire to make a political statement about a “multicultural Australia”.

Not being privy to any of their private considerations, however, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. And with that, I would like to say this: Esma Voloder is precisely the sort of a young Muslim woman who represents our nation – not just because she comes from a refugee family and she made the most of opportunities that Australia can provide (having studied psychology, she now works as a criminal profiler)  – but her participation in the pageant shows how well she embraced the modern Australian culture and society. If you don’t believe me, have a look for yourself:esma5 esma1

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Up yours, bigots and nay-sayers. Case closed. And a better cultural ambassador for Australia overseas than Yassmin Abdel-Maghied.

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