The 69th Miss Universe competition has officially closed its curtain earlier this week, but a lot of people are still buzzing about it on social media.
Miss Universe Malaysia 2011 alum, Deborah Henry, made headlines after coming up with a bold statement on her Instagram regarding Muslim women’s participation in beauty pageants.
“It is an honour to represent our country, Malaysia on the international stage. It is time for all our women to be allowed to choose. I think we need to reevaluate this ruling,” the former “Bella” MC captioned her post.
Scrolling through the comments, we can see that many netizens also echoed the same sentiment as Deborah. Not only that, some have also called for the humanitarian beauty queen to be appointed as the new National Director of the Miss Universe Malaysia Organisation (MUMO), replacing the current person-in-charge Elaine Daly.
Following the massive amount of reactions received from the public, Deborah once again took to her Instagram to shed some light on her previous statement. In a lengthy post uploaded on her social media page, she clarified that she does not intend to disrespect anyone or any faith, as her “humanitarian work and ethos goes beyond race and religion”.
She wrote, “I asked this question on pageant participation because many women I know whom I call friends who happened to be born as Muslims actually really want to participate and represent their country. Many have been doing so in other ‘arenas’, but for some reason a few selected beauty pageants are banned. And I do believe these individuals should have the right to CHOOSE. And guess what? These individuals would join tomorrow if there wasn’t a ban. I respect that many do not agree with my position on this.”
“To all the women who read this, I respect your rights to defend your beliefs and opinions. But shouldn’t we all respect other people even if their opinions are different? I’m not questioning anyone’s faith. I’m engaging a conversation about a woman’s right to choose for herself – to make her own decisions based on her beliefs and principles. Why should you or anyone else tell her otherwise,” she ended her post.
Regardless if Deborah ends up as MUMO’s National Director in the future, we like how she’s using her voice and platform on these issues.