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Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Monday, 27 June 2005 12:15 UK

Row over Indonesia transvestite show

Some of the contestants at Miss Transvestite in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 26, 2005
The show was nearly over when the militants arrived

A transvestite beauty pageant in Indonesia was the scene of an unusual clash on Sunday when it was interrupted by a hardline Islamic group.

Members of the Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI) barged into a club where the Miss Waria 2005 contest was taking place.

FPI leader Soleh Mahmud said: "Before Allah punishes us with a second tsunami here in Jakarta, let us ask the police to disperse this event."

After a delay the contest continued, and was won by PR worker Olivia.

He won $250 and a return air ticket to Thailand, where he will compete in an international transvestite contest next year.

Contest organiser Megi Megawati said contestants were traumatised by the raid, after about 10 FPI members dressed in white tunics and prayer caps entered the nightclub towards the end of the contest.

Transvestites make regular appearances on Indonesian TV, and the country is generally tolerant of the so-called "waria" - a combination of the Indonesian words for male and female.

But the FPI - which is better known for attacking bars and other venues considered un-Islamic - wants to end such public shows.

"Transvestites should not be made into a role model," said FPI member Alawi Usman. "We are worried it could influence our children," he told the Associated Press.



SEE ALSO
Indonesia's Muslim militants
08 Aug 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Headscarf no barrier to beauty contest
29 Jul 04 |  Asia-Pacific


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