Telegraph British newspaper issued a report about cancelling Miss Upper Egypt’ beauty pageant; adding that the competition was cancelled after threats of violence.
The newspaper said that “he first-ever beauty pageant planned for a conservative region in Egypt has been cancelled amid security concerns and threats of violence; the Miss Upper Egypt competition was scheduled to take place in Assiut, a city 200 miles south of Cairo in an area known for its ultra-traditional views on gender and religion”.
It added “ten women, all wearing headscarves, were meant to take part in the event, which said it would focus on inner beauty rather than physical looks”.
“The party was canceled by the hotel, I don’t know why,” said Fatima Bakr, the organizer of the Miss Upper Egypt competition.
Mrs Bakr told The Telegraph that she had received death threats from people upset about the pageant and that some callers had threatened to burn down her office or the hotel where the event was scheduled.
A security source said that organizers had not applied for security permission for the event and so police would not guard the hotel in the event of a demonstration.
The hotel’s owner was told that he would be held personally responsible if the event turned violent and there was no police to restore order, the source said.
Mohamed Refaat, the manager of the hotel, said that event did not have the right permission from the security services so it could not be allowed to go ahead.
The Miss Upper Egypt competition had drawn widespread interest the media and across the country because the area is known as one of Egypt’s most traditional.
Women from upper Egypt are sometimes stereotyped as religious fundamentalists who all wear the full veil face- covering and are less educated and liberal than women from Cairo.
Mrs Bakr said her pageant was intended to “target the mind” and show off the women’s intellect rather than their bodies. One stage of the competition would involve the women demonstrating their knowledge of the Quran, the Islamic holy book.
“I will not display the girls, no one of them will walk in front of the audience,” she said.
Women’s groups in Egypt had applauded the event as a chance to show a different side of upper Egypt. “We feel nothing but pride for women who try to fight the norm and show the world what they’re truly made of,” wrote one liberal blogger.
The event would have been the first of its kind in Upper Egypt but the country as a whole is no stranger to beauty pageants.
A Miss Egypt competition has been held since the 1950s, featuring women in bikinis. Antigone Costanda, a Miss Egypt winner, went on to be crowned Miss World in the 1954 competition in London.