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First Hijabi Miss Nigeria: “How I Convinced my Dad to Contest”

Some said, I was going to spoil the Miss Nigeria brand. Others even instigated that I was bringing in Boko Haram'

Shatu Garko, an 18-year-old, has become the first hijabi Muslim to win the Miss Nigeria pageant since its inception in 1957.

For the young woman who hails from Kano State, the decision to contest was not an easy one, especially due to her father’s opposition.

“My mum has always been my biggest supporter so convincing her to let me do this was not difficult. However, my dad was not on board,” she told The Punch.

“He was worried about me being forced to take off my hijab, or wear a swimsuit, or just being treated differently because of the hijab. My mum and I had to do an entire presentation to convince him. But after that point, I had his full support.”

📚 Read Also:  Does Hijab Infringe upon Women’s Liberty?

Convincing her father, Garko did not listen to critics dissuading her from participation.

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“Some said, ’go to school’ and some said I was going to spoil the Miss Nigeria brand. Others even instigated that I was bringing in Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen. I simply ignored them,” she said.

Speaking on her motivation, Garko said, “I wanted to take a chance on myself. When I applied, I honestly did not think for a second that I could win.

“But a small voice kept ringing in my head, ‘what if you get selected’? I realized that just by getting selected, I could inspire so many young girls even if I didn’t win.”

Beauty Pageants in Islam

Islam is the religion of morals; as it protects woman’s honor and dignity, it also raises her status and preserves her chastity.

On the issue of beauty and pageantry, Islam intends to safeguard women from all attempts to render them into mere beauty objects.

According to Muslim scholars, the Islamic Shari`ah obligates covering the `awrah and protecting honors.

What’s common in non-faith-based Miss World contests is that the contestants are required to display their God-given architecture for the whole world to review and this is absolutely haram.

That’s why some Muslim scholars state that Muslims are not allowed to organize or participate in these contests.