First came Rima Fakih, the first Muslim to win the Miss USA title – and, with her participation in the pageant’s swimsuit competition, to push the public’s perceptions of Muslim women. Then came Sila Sahin, a Turkish German woman living in Germany, who recently posed for a cover of Playboy Magazine. The stereotype of the completely-covered-in-black Muslim woman has once again been challenged –this time with images of no dress at all.
Sahin explained her decision to model for Playboy thus, “I have always abided by what men say. As a result I developed an extreme desire for freedom … I want these photos to show young Turkish women it’s OK for you to live however you choose.”
Sahin’s connection between freedom and posing for a porn magazine is a difficult one to grasp. In leaving behind strict religious interpretations, which can at times be used to wield control over woman’s bodies, Sahin has moved into a more pernicious realm – one where woman are reduced to sexual objects and seen as nothing more than their physical selves. Sexual objectification is not exactly consonant with “freedom.”
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.
By RAY HANANIA
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.
The Miss USA 2010 title went to Rima Fakih of Dearborn, Mich., on Sunday night, as she beat out Miss Oklahoma, Morgan Elizabeth Woolard, who was named first runner-up. Fakih, a Lebanese-American born in New York, nearly fell while finishing her walk in a long, strapless gown with a train, but she made it without a spill. During the interview portion, Fakih, 24, was asked whether she thought birth control should be paid for by health insurance, and she said she believed it should because it’s costly. “I believe that birth control is just like every other medication, even though it’s a controlled substance,” Fakih said.