A new Miss Iraq has been crowned! Shaima Qassem Abdulrahman bravely competed in the first Miss Iraq pageant held in 43 years, even as death threats surrounded the competition. Get all the details here!
Congrats are in order for Shaima Qassem Abdulrahman! The 20-year-old student was recently crowned Miss Iraq, becoming the first to receive the honor since 1972. But as her country is facing some turmoil, Shaima’s win comes with several death threats for her involvement with the competition. Despite the scary circumstances, the newest Miss Iraq is hopeful that her title will have a positive affect on all Iraqi women.
“I want to prove that the Iraqi woman has her own existence in society, she has her rights like men,” Shaima told NBC News. “I am afraid of nothing, because I am confident that what I am doing is not wrong.”
Initially, Shaima was one of almost 200 women vying to win the Miss Iraq title. But after the pageant’s website and Facebook page were flooded with death threats against the contestants, the count quickly fell to less than 10. Prior to the threats, organizers had hoped that holding the pageant after a 43-year absence would “highlight the bright side of Iraq” amidst the turmoil the country has faced in recent years, according to the group’s website.
“Iraq needed this,” pageant director Ahmed Leith told CNN. “The situation is weak here, and we wanted to celebrate this the same way other countries like Lebanon and others do. To have a sense of normalcy.”
For Shaima — who has been directly affected by the violence inflicted upon her country by ISIS, as her cousins were killed while fighting as members of Iraq’s federal police — her Miss Iraq honor meant more than a crown or title. Shaima stressed that her goal as a beauty queen is “reflect the culture of Iraq,” as she feels the monumental 2015 Miss Iraq competition was “not about beauty alone.” After she won, Shaima said, “I call all Iraqi girls to feel this experience.”
HollywoodLifers, do you think it was brave for Shaima to compete in the Miss Iraq pageant? Would you have done the same if you were her? Tell us below!