BY: LINDSEY WOLF
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Shanna Bukhari - a Pakistani woman born and raised in England - dreams of becoming the first Muslim Miss Universe, but now she’s also fearing for her life.
Bukhari got over 300 Facebook posts a day - some even threatening to kill her. Muslims felt she wouldn’t be dressed modestly enough - even when she opted for a one-piece swimsuit instead of a bikini. Some Brits thought her skin was too dark to represent their country. And feminists were against the idea of her parading around on stage in glitter. MSNBC’s Tamron Hall asks the model why she thinks this all happened.
SHANNA BUKHARI: “I believe the minority out there are using my religion as a tool to attack me. I’m born here. I’m British. Yes, I am a Muslim. I’m proud of where I come from, however, they shouldn’t use my religion as a tool to attack me.
Bukhari eventually had to shut down her Facebook account after fearing for her life. Paul Taylor, a blogger for the Manchester Evening News, says the anonymity of the Internet could be to blame.
“Perhaps these idiots regarded online debate like a shoot-’em-up video game – a virtual reality in which no one’s feelings could actually be hurt. But Shanna Bukhari is now left wondering whether one of those poisonous cowards will come out from behind their cloak of anonymity and make good on a threat”
But the attention hasn’t been all bad. In Britain’s Miss Universe semi-finals, Bukhari won the most public votes. According to the Guardian, she’s received support from Spain, China, Pakistan, India and the Middle East because she hasn’t backed down.
“Most women supporters say she represents not just a role model for Muslim women, but all those who refuse to be cowed by bullies.”
Miss Michigan - Rima Fakih was just crowned the first Muslim Miss USA. CNN’s Richard Greene suggests the two countries are reacting very differently.
RICHARD GREENE: “People don’t focus much most on Rima Fakih being the first Muslim Miss USA she says, they just think of her as Miss USA. Whether Shanna Bukhari’s story turns out the same way will say a lot about Britain and how its adapting to its own rapidly growing Muslim minority.”
Bukhari won the title of Miss Universe Asiana, a pageant for Asian women living in the UK. She is now one of 60 in the Miss Universe Great Britain finals. If she wins on May 1, she’ll head to Sao Paulo, Brazil, on September 12 for the Miss Universe pageant.
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