DEATH threats from ISIS could not stop an economics student from being crowned the first Miss Iraq since 1972, according to The Sun. Shayma Qassim Abdelrahman beat nine other women to take the title but then received a phonecall demanding she join the Caliphate – or else. The 20-year-old says her win is a victory for women’s rights and the kidnapping threat would not stop her.
She told NBC News: “(I will) continue forward despite any obstacles. “I want to prove that the Iraqi woman has her own existence in society, she has her rights like men. “I am afraid of nothing, because I am confident that what I am doing is not wrong.” Organisers hoped bringing the beauty pageant back would ‘highlight the bright side of Iraq’ but hardliners and tribal leaders argued it was un-Islamic and immoral.
Death threats reportedly led to the 200 women who had wanted to participate dwindling down to less than 10. In response to criticism the organisers removed the swimsuit round and moved the event from its original date in October. Pageant director Ahmed Leith said: “Iraq needed this.
“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.” Two of Ms. Abdelrahman’s cousins, both Iraqi police officers, were killed fighting Islamic State fighters, NBC reported.