Maria Mahmood is definitely breaking stereotypes! Yes, you read it right. This hijabi is all set to change the mindsets of people all around the globe.
“Muslims are associated with negative things like terrorism. I’m determined to do my bit to challenge those views,” Maria told The Mirror.
Maria Mahmood, a 20 year old Psychology student from Birmingham, is the first hijabi Muslim to participate in the Miss England contest. Even though, a Muslim has been crowned Miss England before, Maria is the first hijab wearing contestant to take part.
With immense support from her family and friends, she is prepared to break barriers despite the many backlashes that may follow. The question is, will that stop her? It clearly doesn’t seem so..
Maria Mahmood was asked if she has faced any discrimination during her journey there, to which she stated, “It’s pretty rare for a Muslim woman to be in a beauty pageant but there’s nothing to stop us entering. I entered Miss Birmingham and the organizers were delighted to have a hijab-wearing Muslim in the competition. They fast-tracked me through to the final where I competed against 30 girls and came second. I couldn’t believe it.”
We are truly overwhelmed to have someone like her representing the Muslims! Changing the image of Muslims and showing the world how Muslim women are not suppressed neither are they ashamed of their identity.
“What I’m doing is empowering for Muslim women. I’m anticipating most people will back me.” Undoubtedly, Maria has our full support!
A lot of people from her community might be worried about the swimsuit segment that is an important part of every beauty competition. Well, according to Maria’s spokesperson, she will not be wearing a bikini. Instead, she’ll flaunt a “burkini”, which is a fully covered bathing suit. Maria made a statement regarding the swimwear, “Obviously, I’m not going to parade on stage in a bikini as that is going against my religion and beliefs. I’ll wear a burkini.”
The Miss England semi-final will be held in Newark, Notts, in July. If Maria gets her hands on the title, she’ll be one step closer to be competing in Miss World. We wish you nothing but the best, Maria! You go girl!!