Rima Fakih knew she had won the 2010 Miss USA title when she saw the look on Donald Trump’s face: It was the same one she’d seen him flash at the winners of “The Apprentice.” The 24-year-old Lebanese immigrant — Miss Michigan USA to the judges — beat out 50 other women to take the title Sunday night, despite nearly stumbling in her evening gown. “She’s a great girl,” said Trump, who owns the pageant with NBC in a joint venture.
Rima Fakih, the Lebanese-American, ‘liberal Muslim’ Miss USA from Michigan, has a fascinating interview at the religion site Patheos revealing that she is — surprise surprise — pretty much like most 24-year-olds on the spiritual front. She’s a mash-up and she’s proud of it: “I’m Miss USA, not Miss Religion USA.”
By JOY SEWING
As the first Muslim to be crowned Miss USA, Rima Fakih isn’t bothered by criticism that wearing bikinis and revealing clothing goes against the teachings of her religion. During a brief stop in Houston this week, the newly crowned Miss USA said she hopes her new profile will help expand the notion of what it means to be a Muslim American.
This debate in the Muslim world, prompted by Lebanese-American Rima Fakih’s win of the Miss USA title, is hotter than the two-state vs. one-state debka. Rima Fakih, the new Miss USA, symbolizes everything that’s wrong with the Middle East. But not in the way you might think. The problems her victory raises are not about herself, but rather about the region’s moral hypocrites.
After winning the Miss USA pageant on May 16, Lebanese immigrant Rima Fakih has since experienced a flood of backlash from critics who say that because she’s Muslim, she doesn’t accurately represent America — and that her ties with a terrorist nation make her title undeserved. In particular, Fakih has received conservative backlash over her name — which a few Hezbollah officials allegedly share. Radical pundits like columnist Debbie Schlussel have fueled an absurd rumor that Fakih is a terrorist, which birthed the unoriginal nickname “Miss Hezbollah.”
Beirut, Washington, Tel Aviv- As soon as 24-year old Rima Fakih, who is originally from the town of Srifa in Southern Lebanon, descended from the Las Vegas stage as “Miss USA 2010” she began to face criticism from all directions. Some US and Israeli media outlets went so far as to say that a Muslim winning a US beauty pageant confirms that Islam has taken root in the country since Barack Obama won the presidency a year ago.