Rima Fakih, an Arab American from Dearborn, Michigan won the Miss USA beauty pageant Sunday. She is believed to be the first Muslim to win the title, though historical pageant records dating back to 1952 are not detailed enough to confirm. Fakih has been deftly profiled in the Detroit Free Press in a piece that chronicles her unique journey. The daughter of Lebanese immigrants, Fakih's parents proudly supported her despite grumblings from certain elements of their community. Reactions from the blogosphere after the jump:
- As American as Apple Pie, applauds David Knowles at True/Slant: "Fakih sold her Ford to compete in the Miss Michigan beauty pageant, and after winning on Sunday said wanted to go out for pizza. How American can you get?"
- Broke Barriers in Her Community, writes Niraj Warikoo at the Detroit Free Press: "As an Arab American, Fakih's story contains the tensions and hopes of a metro Detroit community that has been in the spotlight during the last decade as it battles stereotypes from without and within. Given the community's cultural conservatism, some Arab Americans -- in particular, Muslims -- aren't keen on seeing their daughters and sisters participate in beauty pageants that feature public displays of the body."
- Has a Bizarre Understanding of the Pill, jabs Michelle Malkin reacting to her
responses in the interview portion of the pageant: "She argued that
contraceptives should be covered by health insurers because they are
'expensive' — and then said you could get them for 'free' from your
OB/GYN’s office." Here's the clip:
- An Affirmative Action Beauty Contest? A few far-right blogs latched onto a post by Debbie Schlussel, a controversial and often vehement critic of Islam. She attributed the decision to politically correct pandering and made other unconfirmed allegations. The notion was rebuffed by a number of other bloggers, including prominent legal scholar Jonathan Turley. "It is a sad commentary on our contemporary politics that an Arab-American cannot simply win such a pageant without unleashing such a torrent of hateful conspiracy theories." Adam Serwer at the American Prospect adds: "These people aren't worried about terrorism -- they're offended by the idea of Muslims being integrated into the most mundane and banal aspects of American society."