Anger at Muslim beauty contestantAnger at Muslim beauty contestant
MUSLIM leaders have demanded a British Iraqi woman withdraws from the final of this weekend's Miss England beauty contest in Liverpool. Sarah Mendly, 23, who has a British passport and has lived in England since her parents fled Saddam Hussein's regime in 1993, is the first Muslim woman to reach the latter stages of the beauty competition. However, Muslim leaders said her participation in the event was against the teachings of the Koran, and branded the showing of naked flesh as "unlawful". Although Sarah, a bio-chemistry graduate, will not wear the traditional bikini for the show at Liverpool's Olympia on Saturday night, she may don a one-piece swimsuit underneath a sarong. But even this has not placated the wrath of Muslim leaders, who said she should not be taking part in the contest at all. Dr Hashim Sulaiman, of the Liverpool Islamic institute, has condemned the Mendly family's decision to allow their daughter to take part in the first place. He said: "There is no way a Muslim girl should be taking part in this competition because it is unlawful. "The ladies in that contest are always very scantily dressed and the only part of the body that should be on display are the face the hands and the feet. "I would like this girl to withdraw from the contest immediately. " Sarah, a pharmaceutical sales rep who still has many relatives in Baghdad, said she has the full support of her family. "I wanted to show that there are attractive British Iraqi girls who are proud of being both British and Iraqi. "Some fanatics might say entering a beauty contest is wrong because you are putting yourself up to be judged by your physical appearance - but my family supports me.