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Defying Islamic protests, Filipina becomes Miss World 2013

A Filipina has become Miss World 2013 in Bali. Religious hard-liners had protested against the pageant across Indonesia in recent weeks.

Megan Young beat five co-finalists - and a total field of 126 other women - to win the coveted title in a contest broadcast to more than 180 countries worldwide. She thanked the judges for choosing her and promised to "be the best Miss World ever."

The 23-year-old also pledged to "just be myself in everything I do, to share what I know and to educate people."

Holding the pageant in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, had sparked anger among conservatives who considered the Miss World competition in conflict with Islamic values.

Miss World organizers had earlier agreed to cut bikinis from the swimsuit competition, replacing them with more conservative sarongs. However, pressure continued to mount, and more mainstream groups joined in and called for a ban on the show.

Success against Gaga

Officials moved the competition from near the capital, Jakarta, to Hindu-dominated Bali. The British, Australian and US embassies issued warnings to citizens planning trips to the island during the competition, saying there could be large-scale protests or even attacks.

Thousands of police, some heavily armed, guarded the venue or patrolled the vicinity in the town of Nusa Dua. However, in the end, no demonstrations materialized, and the radical group the Islamic Defenders' Front limited itself to holding a mass prayer session in a mosque just outside Jakarta to express opposition.

Last year, the Islamic Defenders Front forced Lady Gaga to cancel a sold-out show after branding her a "devil worshipper."

mkg/slk (AFP, AP)

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