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Contestant Wants to Wear Burkini in Miss Minnesota Swimsuit Competition

By Melanie Arter | November 21, 2016 | 2:46pm EST
(AP Photo)

A 19-year-old who is competing for the title of Miss Minnesota USA is one of the first Somali-American women to compete for the title, and she’s hoping to do so wearing a burkini, the Huffington Post reported last week.

According to the article’s clarification, “Halima Aden is not the only young woman of Somali heritage to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant this year.”

Minnesota has one of the largest Somali-American communities in the country.

Instead of wearing a one-piece or a bikini for the swimsuit competition, Aden said she’s asked pageant directors to allow her to wear a burkini instead.

“I’m going in as me, my authentic self. I’m not going to dress down or change myself,” Aden was quoted as saying. 

Designed by Aheda Zanetti, the burqini/burkini is sportswear suitable for Muslim women. It is described on the burqini website as “swimwear which is ‘two piece like a bikini’ and ‘smaller than a burka’ (a full cover over coat).”

Aden said she’s hoping her participation in the pageant will showcase the beauty of Muslim women.

“As long as I could remember, the media portrays Muslim women as oppressed and in a very negative light,” she said. “But you never see the beauty and the good things that come from Muslim women.” 

“I could have sat there and I could have waited for a long time to see somebody who was dressed like me or looks like me, but I noticed that’s just not happening,” Aden said. 

“Not seeing women that look like you in media in general and especially in beauty competitions sends the message that you’re not beautiful or you have to change the way you look to be considered beautiful,” she added. “And that’s not true.”

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