Afghan Supreme Court bans beauty pageants

Kabul - Afghanistan's Supreme Court has condemned beauty contests as un-Islamic after an American-based Afghan woman paraded in a bikini as Miss Afghanistan in an international beauty pageant in Manila, state media reported on Thursday.

"The Supreme Court in its Wednesday session announced that appearing naked in beauty contests is totally un-Islamic, is against Afghan tradition, human honour and dignity," state news agency Bhakter reported.

"Based on the holy religion of Islam any one who attends such contests no matter what religion or country they belong to is condemned to hell," the report added.

A 25-year-old Afghan woman, Vida Samadzai who lives in United States, paraded in a red bikini last week at Miss Earth competition in the Philippines during a public appearance.

She is the first Afghan woman in 30 years to participate in the Miss World contest. But she has incurred the wrath of the few Afghans who have seen her photos or read the international news stories.

Afghan women affairs minister, Habiba Sarabi, condemned Samadzai saying her semi-naked appearance "is not women's freedom but in my opinion is to entertain men", she said.

"What this Afghan girl has done is not freedom but is lascivious," Sarabi said.

"We condemn Vida Samadzai, she is not representing Afghanistan's women and this not women's freedom," the minister added.

Samadzai in an interview in Manila had claimed that she represents Afghanistan in the Miss Earth beauty contest, but Afghanistan's Embassy in Washington denies recommending her representing Afghanistan and says it is her personal decision.

"Afghanistan's embassy in Washington DC declares that claims by Samadzai representing Afghanistan are baseless, it has been her own decision to attend in the beauty contest," reported Bakhtar News Agency.

Vida Samadzai, a dark-eyed brunette of the Pashtun tribe who fled Afghanistan with her family in 1996, professed to make the world aware of "Afghan women talent, intelligence and beauty".

Samadzai decided to attend the Miss Earth Beauty contest to give the world a different image of Afghan women and appeared public in bikini while most Afghan women in her hometown two years after the fall of extremist Taliban wear all-covering Burqa robes. - Sapa-AFP

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