According to an Associated Press report, the organizers of the Miss World beauty pageant have banned bikinis from being worn on-stage at the competition. Instead, contestants will be wearing bikini tops along with long sarongs similar to those worn in Bali.
The change was reportedly made to “respect” the “traditional customs and values” of Indonesia, where this year’s pageant is being held. The decision is a compromise for those Indonesians who object to women showing certain portions of their skin. Though a majority of Indonesians belong to a moderate sect of Islam, some more fundamentalist locals have planned to protest the pageant. The Indonesian Council of Ulema has called for the pageant to be cancelled entirely.
A representative for the Miss World Organization told the AP that the decision was made after a year of discussions over the “sensitive” issue. It was also stated that the pageant wished to “work in a manner respectful to every country.” One-piece sarong beachwear is reportedly being designed by Indonesia specifically for the competition.