Friday, April 14, 2006

2006 Iraqi Beauty Queen(s)

When a woman wins the title of beauty queen, many doors open for her. It means scholarships, money, travel and most likely a future marriage to a powerful man. But if the beauty queen is an Iraqi, things could be different:

On April 9, the 23-year-old, who was the first Armenian Iraqi to win the Miss Iraq pageant, announced her resignation after receiving threats by a group of religious extremists who referred to her as "the queen of infidels" for participating in the contest.
[...]
Pageant organizers had hoped to pass the crown to the runner-up, or "Maiden of Beauty," Mona Hilmi, an Iraqi Sunni Muslim. One of the organizers said she was "equally intelligent and beautiful."

However, the second and third runners-up also withdrew from the competition for security concerns. They had not received specific threats.

Miss Teen Iraq, Silva Shahakian, a Christian, accepted the title.
[...]
During her acceptance speech, Goregian told the crowd, "Maybe beauty is the final step to end violence and preach world peace after all." The Iraqis who disagree have forced her to give up her crown and flee her country.

Read more...


Don't get too excited for Silva. Here's what happened next:

Silva Shahakian, an Iraqi Christian, received the title of Miss Iraq when the initial winner stepped down after receiving death threats and two other runners-up also bowed out, a person familiar with the event said Wednesday.

Since receiving the crown, Shahakian has been lying low, fearing she will be targeted, he said...
[...]
Shahakian's whereabouts were unknown, although it was believed that she was still in Iraq. Several attempts to reach Goregian, who is believed to have left Iraq, failed.

Read more...

Hopefully, they both stay safe. They should both be granted asylum somewhere safe.

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