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EDITIONS
Monday, 2 December, 2002, 15:00 GMT
Miss World fiasco: What next for Nigeria?
The deputy governor of Zamfara state in northern Nigeria has urged Muslims to kill the woman who wrote an article which insulted the Prophet Mohammed, sparking religious riots last week.

Fashion writer Isioma Daniel resigned after writing in the ThisDay newspaper that the Prophet Mohammed may have approved of the Miss World contest and possibly wished to marry one of the beauty queens.

Ms Daniel, who is not a Muslim, has now fled Nigeria.

Following protests over the article, more than 200 people were killed in clashes between Muslims and Christians in the northern city of Kaduna.

The Miss World pageant will now be staged in London in December.

Earlier, the Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo blamed "irresponsible journalism" for the bloodshed.

Do you feel that irresponsible journalism about the Miss World contest was to blame for causing the riots in Kaduna? How will it affect Africa's ability to hold similar events in the future?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction

I am deeply sorry that so many lives were lost over this event, but perhaps we can now look more carefully at the kinds of messages such pageants give to women and men in the world.
Debra Klein, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

The government must bring everyone involved in this act of vandalism to book

Godwill Awa, London,UK
I wish to state here that I do not see any form of irresponsible journalism from Ms. Daniel if our country claims to have democracy. I think the federal government of Nigeria should for once take a firm stand on any facet of the sharia law that infringes on peoples basic human rights. I believe in a democratic state people should have the freedom of expressing their views. The government must bring everyone involved in this act of vandalism, which cost our nation the lives of more than 215 people, to book. At this point I will suggest the need for a national conference sooner to discuss how Nigerians of all religious persuasions and cultures could co-exist in harmony. May God help to restore real peace and calm in Nigeria.
Godwill Awa, London,UK

As a Nigerian I believe the time has come for the North of Nigeria to decide either to subject itself to the Federal Government of Nigeria or to go it alone as an independent Islamic nation, with the South withdrawing its presence from the North. Nigeria needs to cry out and make a stand against intolerance. This high level of intolerance that requires nothing but "a little remark said out of place" to trigger violence. How long must we bear this loss of lives, this chaos and lack of stability in the North?
Lara Balogun, Stirling, U.K.,

There is no such thing as irresponsible journalism; however there is such a thing as irresponsible behaviour on the part of those barbarians who disrupted a global event from taking place in Nigeria. I think is about time we divide our country. The south should let the northerners go.
Frank Agudah, Dallas, Tx, USA

If they felt secure in their beliefs, they would not lash out

Leslie Steward, Los Angeles, CA
One has to wonder what frightens Nigerian Muslims so much about this. If they felt secure in their beliefs, they would not lash out like this. They would be able to enjoy the peace that the Prophet envisioned. To kill fellow human beings over any issue, especially such a small one, just proves that they are using their religion as an excuse.
Leslie Steward, Los Angeles, CA

Let me express my utmost opinion about what Nigeria needs. That country needs prayers from both Christians and Muslims and the rest of people need to quit blaming one another. Violence is not new to any nation; even in Bible times there was violence but God has a way of making things well for His children and that is only if we learn how to take it to him in prayers.
Dr. Michael J, TX-USA

Where does this idea that hosting the Miss World contest is against Nigerian traditions come from? If last year Miss Nigeria was crowned Miss World then obviously Nigeria does hold beauty pageants, don't they? They had to elect her in some way. It would have been better for the Nigerian reputation to make headlines for a silly event like Miss World than for riots and hatred that killed hundreds. I come originally from the Former Yugoslavia and I am enormously happy whenever I see my country Croatia mentioned in the media for our sport achievements and natural beauty, as for years it was in the news only because of the war.
Tanja, Netherlands

Nigeria is a political cauldron

Prince Edet E. Eno, Chicago
Whatever happened to editorial restraint? Nigeria is a political cauldron and people need better judgement. I weep for Nigeria.
Prince Edet E. Eno, Chicago, USA

It is rather unfortunate that this resulted in riots. However, it is high time the whole world knew that Islam is not just a religion but actually a way of life. If this is understood, then Muslims are easy to deal with.
Qamarudeen Lawal, Lagos, Nigeria

It was not irresponsible journalism that caused the riots, it was a weak government too scared to put its foot down and stamp out fanatics.
Chris, Lancaster, England

Freedom of speech inspires rational thinking

Oghogho Eguakun, Nanaimo, Canada
If anyone calls what was written in ThisDay newspaper as irresponsible journalism, then Nigeria is far from being a democratic state. Freedom of speech inspires rational thinking, research, questions, new suggestions etc which in turn lead to modern development. If journalists have to consider how not to offend every religion, creed, tribe, beliefs etc in Nigeria before writing, then all the newspapers would have been shut down by now. What I wonder at is that the Ramadan time is supposed to be spiritual for some people, yet they go out, kill fellow brothers and go back to fasting and praying. How do you marry these two practices?
Oghogho Eguakun, Nanaimo, Canada

I am a Nigerian married to a Norwegian. Kaduna has been known to be a volatile town with lots of violence. Very little things develop into wars. Lots of people have died for no just cause in that city. So I feel it was the worst city to have a Miss World competition. The Nigerian organisers should have known better.
Theresa Egeland, Norway

The article written by the journalist was probably the wrong thing to say at a very wrong time. Would Prophet Mohammed, under the circumstances, approve of the riots carried out by groups of Muslim extremists that caused the death of 200 people?
Nelson Petronilho, Portugal

I salute the journalist for her free thought and boldness

Solomon, Alberta, Canada
The incident in Kaduna has nothing to do with the beauty pageant or ThisDay's article. We should stop blaming the organizers and the journalist. Rather we should be grateful to them for risking the reputation of the pageant by choosing such a barbaric nation. I salute the journalist for her free thought and boldness. This is just the beginning, since our leaders have chosen to fold their arms.
Solomon, Alberta, Canada

I think the reaction was borne more out of frustration than religious reasons. In a country where the majority struggles with poverty and unemployment, the spending of money on what in comparison can be regarded as a frivolous production is too much for the disgruntled, unsatisfied masses to tolerate. I certainly think Nigeria had no business hosting that pageant in the first place.
Wuraola Omotosho, Chicago, Il

Well, the whole saga has been interpreted the way leaders wanted to present it. There has been always hidden desire of religious leaders to be heard and get recognised for their bookish theology. Once again ignorance and hatred has won the battle. What a pity for a so-called learned world.
Bharat Sharma, Chicago, US

They had earlier served notice of their inflexible opposition

Peter Anyasi, Paris, France
With or without the article, the fanatics would have disrupted the pageant. After all, they had earlier served notice of their inflexible opposition to it. What is to blame however, is the quibbling of the Obasanjo administration on the danger which fundamentalist Islam poses to the corporate existence of Nigeria. With his eyes on re-election, President Obasanjo who was so alarmed by the grim prospects of this brand of Islam for Nigeria that he had to call the Council of State to discuss it earlier in the life of the administration, now excuses these fundamentalist excesses in the name of federalism.
Peter Anyasi, Paris, France

In my opinion the lady misused the platform to acquire fame by throwing her insulting remarks on the Prophet. The reaction aftermath was obvious. No religious community can tolerate such insults.
I. Khan, Kuwait

It was irresponsible journalism yes, but if I had read the same about Jesus, at worst I would have prayed and sent a terse letter to the editor to spare us from such thick, stupid and bimboistic journalism.
Pete, UK

Personally, I think the people involved in the rioting were just looking for an excuse and the newspaper article provided them with one. Miss World is just a silly little beauty pageant that Miss Nigeria happened to win last year.
Keith, USA

What was accomplished by the loss of over two hundred lives?

Sabella Abidde, Mankato, Minnesota, USA
I am a Nigerian living in Minnesota, USA. I do not consider the content of Miss Isioma Daniel's article in ThisDay newspaper offensive. It is not sacrilegious. Consider the number of times scholars and researchers have cast doubt on the existence of Jesus Christ; and consider still, the number of times writers have cast aspersions on Jesus and on the Christian faith. For that, Christians did not take up arms and go in search of the infidels and the unrighteous. You know, political Islam and political Christianity are both dangerous - it makes otherwise rational people commit the unthinkable. In the final analysis, what was accomplished by the loss of over two hundred lives? What was gained with the destruction of properties and the maiming of the innocents?
Sabella Abidde, Mankato, Minnesota, USA

In the past I have been a staunch supporter of Islam. When violence has occurred in the name of Islam I have been one of the first to explain that this is not really a part of their religion and that it is the circumstances that have caused the problem and not Islam itself. Lately however I have come to the conclusion that even though Islam itself is not a violent religion the way it is being practiced today certainly is violent. The latest fatwa that has been released calling for the death of the journalist who wrote the article that sparked the riots adds credence to this conclusion. Islam may not have started as a religion of violence and intolerance, but it has certainly developed into one.
Dave, USA

We must be enlightened.

Kwame Antwi, Accra, Ghana
Irresponsible journalism? Sure, it was a journalistic mistake but does that give extremists the right to kill others because of what one thinks? With all respect to both Christians and Muslim, no one knows what these two great leaders would have done now. Please don't let us kill ourselves for our beliefs. We should not take the law in our own hands because of what our political leaders or spiritual leaders say. After all we are all sinners. No one on earth today can claim he has seen or talk with God, Jesus, or Mohammed and therefore knows what they want. We must be enlightened.
Kwame Antwi, Accra, Ghana

Irresponsible journalism? Ha! I would call it irresponsible rioting!
Randy Davis, Carlsbad, CA, USA

The press has a lot to answer for in this tragedy. From the UK headlines I was to believe that Muslims were rioting purely due to the fact that the Miss World contest was being held in their country, however it was a offensive article which was the real source of their anger. ThisDay has a lot of responsibility for allowing this article to be published in the first place, and yes the writer of the article should not, in my opinion, have put pen to paper in such a volatile country. That said the World press should consider how it presents the story, as they have a responsibility to the whole community as well.
Rob C, Birmingham, UK

Many posters excuse this violence by pointing out that Muslims were offended during Ramadan. When did Muslims become mindless savages, incapable of reason? Last time I checked, Islam was one of the world's great civilizations. What happened?
Brian, Chicago, IL

The journalist has to be blamed

Amara Okwodu, Nigeria
For my own point of opinion, the journalist has to be blamed. She does not have the authority to write against the prophet. she knew that there is a crisis in Nigeria and also knew that some of Hausas are senseless. The blood of the dead is on her head. Moreover, Nigeria is allowing our journalists to write or comment on what everybody knows is not true. The government should set up an organisation to guide Nigerian journalists, because this thing that happened has stained our country.
Amara Okwodu, Nigeria

I am amazed at the number of comments that seem to lay any blame on the media or Miss World for this catastrophe. Fully 100% of the blame belongs to the fundamentalist leaders who incited the ignorant, desperate masses to a murderous frenzy. Why are they allowed to use the teachings of Islam as justification for their despicable behaviour? When will all Muslims speak with one voice to silence the extremists who are truly humiliating their faith?
Sebastian, Virginia, USA

Nigeria's future seems to darken every day.

Dagmar Henn, Munich, Germany
Is it a question of "irresponsible journalism"? Definitely no. If freedom of the press exists in a country, such a question can't even be asked. If it has to be asked it means the freedom of the press, and therefore democracy itself, exists only superficially. The beauty contest has nothing to do with it. It was just used as an excuse to escalate the countries problems. If the central government proves unable to finally take a stand that will be a slap in the face of all those who fought and suffered for a democratic Nigeria. If it gives in to the feudal and corrupt elites of the north and by doing this extinguishes all hope for a democratic future for the rest of its citizens, it will shredder the country. Nigeria's future seems to darken every day. No talk about religion. All talk about power.
Dagmar Henn, Munich, Germany

Nigerians shouldn't have rioted and killed but it was ridiculously insensitive for the organisers to put Miss World in a country that was already unsettled by secular/Christain/Muslim clashes, and during Ramadan. people say Muslims should not be intolerant of others, but by ignoring Nigerian Muslims other Nigerians were being intolerant of Muslim wishes.
Nadeem Shaikh, London, UK

This is just one more example of the religious tensions that exist in the world and of how volatile they are. People, especially the media, should think twice about what they say or print. This type of behaviour can't be blamed on just one group. Everyone shares a degree of responsibility: the people that printed the article, the people that rioted and the people pointing fingers. It is time for the madness to end.
Neil, USA - Expat in Europe

No true Muslim would go out to maim and kill during the month of Ramadan.

Femi, Nigeria
As a Christian with many Muslim friends and relatives it is easy for me to understand the annoyance of the Muslim community over a statement that the Prophet Mohammed may have chosen a wife from among the contestants. However no true Muslim would go out to maim and kill during the month of Ramadan. These people are actually enemies of Islam, even the United States respected the month of Ramadan and stopped bombing in Afghanistan last year during this period. As for Isioma Daniels, the reporter that wrote the offensive article, I hope she has learned her lesson, if you live in a glass house, don't throw stones.
Femi, Lagos, Nigeria

What I found most offensive was that in TV and radio interviews the organisers and contestants seemed more concerned about the competition continuing, than about the many that had died. They seem so wrapped up in the artificial world they live - the fact that so many died has passed them by. Surely they should have cancelled the event as a mark of respect?
P, London, UK

Here is another case of a religious group letting their passions get out of control causing great destruction. Now innocents have to pay the price just because a group wants to relieve their anger by destroying communities that everyone builds.
Jay, Kansas city, USA

I still think the beauty pageant should not have been moved to London. Nigeria has been looking for an opportunity to showcase its culture and other attractions to the world. This was our chance. Really, the contestants were not in harm's way. That part of the north is noted for its volatility. I also lay blame on the doors of our dear president who should have taken immediate decisive steps in quelling the riots even at the initial stages. It should never have been allowed to degenerate to the extent that it did.
Andesine G., Saskatoon, Canada

Nigeria has lost more than enough lives

Chike Akagha, Eritrea
Moving the pageant out of Nigeria, implies Nigeria is now an Islamic State. This is rather unfortunate. It is high time the National Assembly and the Federal Government critically reviewed the economic benefit of Sharia Law. Nigeria has lost more than enough lives. The movement of the beauty pageant to England is a big embarrassment to the most populous black nation on earth. Shame to Nigeria.
Chike Akagha, Asmara Eritrea

To those who think the show should be cancelled: as one of the organisers pointed out, it's the violence that should stop, not Miss World.
Richard N, UK

As a Muslim from the northern part of Nigeria I feel I have a right to state my case. When I was growing up I was taught to respect the religious beliefs of others - so why should mine not be respected? I think the writer of the newspaper article should have known that there are tensions about religion. I know both Muslims and Christians that have died in this conflict and I think the media is giving the wrong view about the whole event. There were protests in Kaduna, Abuja, Lagos and Ibadan - so how can they blame the 'northern Muslim youths'? I think Nigeria was not right to host the contest because we had not addressed our own local issue. What kind of logic do you use to justify hosting the contest when 70% of your population are below the poverty line and you don't provide your people with the basic amenities?
Kaltume, Kaduna, Nigeria

The Miss World contest was completely out of place in Nigeria

Willie Chatsika, Geneva
The Miss World contest was completely out of place in Nigeria. How can people in all good conscience attempt to stage such a display of so-called beauty and glamour amidst all the poverty and disease of sub-Saharan Africa? BR> Willie Chatsika, Geneva, Switzerland

The contest should have been held in the real capital (Lagos) in the first place. This would never have happened there.
Z, UK

It has not yet been mentioned that last year's Miss World is Nigerian. I believe this was a major reason, along with positive publicity for the country, why the Nigerian government agreed to host the event. What kind of statement would it have made to not allow Nigeria to host a beauty contest because of potential Muslim violence? Also, the premise put forth above that this beauty contest was an intentional "humiliation" of the Islamic people of the world is horrifying and infuriating. It appears that Muslim Fundamentalists love to feel "humiliated"; it gives them the justification to kill and to destroy lives and property in the name of avenging their religion.
Annette, Budapest, Hungary

The competition should have remained in Nigeria. I support Muslim people's right to religious belief, but no religion should be allowed to impose its beliefs on others. If Muslims don't like Miss World (and personally I think it's out-dated and dull) then they can boycott it, but hard-line Muslims must learn to accept that other people have a right to see the world differently. By running away from Nigeria, they have allowed intolerance to win.
Brian, UK

This negative Westernised contest makes the rich prosper and the poor feel lame

Lako Lukudu, Sudan
The world has to know exactly what it takes for such events to occur in Africa. Africans are worried about their own problems, be it poverty, unemployment, war, political instability, or health. The Miss World contest is not encouraging anything in the face of Nigerians, instead it promotes the kind of messages that the journalist stated. If you talk of improving the conditions for Africans, let it not be through this negative westernised Miss World contest, that makes the rich prosper and the poor feel lame.
Lako Lukudu, Sudan

I cannot understand why the organisers would choose Nigeria in the first place. To echo some of the comments already made, surely it would have made more sense to choose a country where a pageant like Miss World would be more relevant to the local population.
Ben Knight, Tokyo, Japan

Scrap the whole thing completely as a mark of respect

Michael Grice, Singapore
It was insane to hold such a pageant in Nigeria. It is demeaning to women and based on values that no longer have a place in today's world. Scrap the whole thing completely as a mark of respect to those that have been killed and to women in general.
Michael Grice, Singapore

Knowing how this Muslim nation thinks and their customs, this whole event shows a lack of respect for this country. We should respect the traditions of these nations.
Bob Hawke, Mexico

The problem stems from a lack of education and the resulting poverty that these people live under. The Nigerian government needs to bring corruption under control and re-direct funding towards educating the entire population of what is arguably Africa's most promising nation. With education and the opportunity to work their way out of poverty, people will see that there are better ways to improve one's lot in life than by turning to religious fanaticism and violence.
Mark Jones, London, UK

A beauty pageant is nothing more then a rural seaside event

Deji Ogundero, London
I can't see the relevance of the contest to Nigeria, especially as this is a country that still has several political and religious issues to attend to. It is an outdated contest that is no longer relevant to the modern woman. I can't see how the contest was meant to showcase Nigeria, when just about everything that was required for the contest had to be flown in. If Nigeria wishes to be showcased, it should do so through serious events that truly reflect what Nigeria stands for. I'm afraid that a beauty pageant is nothing more then a rural seaside event at the most.
Deji Ogundero, London, England

I am appalled that the contest is still going ahead. Human decency surely calls for cancellation out of respect for those who have died. I have no doubt that, had these deaths occurred in USA, the show would immediately have been cancelled. Are African lives somehow of less value?
Merci Rebati, Gloucester, UK

The decision to move the Miss World contest out of Nigeria is a very stupid decision. The Miss World contest could have gone ahead either in Port Harcourt or in Lagos. The riots in Kaduna has very little to do with the contest. The Muslims in Kaduna and indeed in northern Nigeria have seized every little opportunity to unleash terror and violence all in the name of religion. The fact that the violence have continued even after the contest was shifted to London is a pointer in this direction. We in the south have had enough of this Nigeria madness. The earlier the country is broken up the better or else something worse than what Yugoslavia experienced may happen.
Emmanuel, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Religion is a sensitive issue and media should not be allowed to comment on it in the name of freedom of speech. It is hard to find any derogatory reference to other faiths or religious personalities by any Islamic institution/media. It is time others also show some respect. No one objects to a beauty contest. Indeed it is the individual's choice to attend and watch it. But such events should not be allowed as a platform to play with the feelings of others.
Ayaz, London, Canada

Islam is a peaceful religion

Miriam, Wales
It pains me to think there are people in this world who seem all to ready to highlight how violent Muslims can be. The fact remains that people have their perceptions of what Islam teaches. If people don't understand the religion of Islam why not read and find out. It is true that Islam is a peaceful religion. For those with a little common sense please use it and think about that.
Miriam, Wales

This is utter foolishness, we all have to live with offences. Running the streets and killing hundreds of people is madness. People's religious beliefs are attacked everyday if we all reacted this way we would have finished each other by now. Since Sept. 11 many Islamic apologists have stressed the fact that Islam is being given a bad name because of the actions of some people. Well, it's time Muslims around the world start proving those statements because the reality is that much of the Muslim world would have reacted the same as these ones in northern Nigeria did.
J, USA

The leaders of the country had to invited the pageant to be held there. They don't just converge on an unsuspecting community! I surprised they agreed to go to a country that stones women for adultery! The article in question was an editorial! Which means it was mostly opinion! Once again the peaceful followers of Islam have gone on a slash and burn because others don't think the way they want them to!!
Kaja, Gloucester, MA

Moving the pageant to London is good and bad. Good in the sense that there is no point in endangering the lives of innocent foreigners and Nigerians was not worth it, and anyway no one would have been interested in coming to a turbulent nation for some event. It is rather saddening though that the development of a country can be determined by a provincial and illiterate group who believe that burning a few churches, cars, buildings and killing and maiming people would always get them what they want. This annulled pageant is an eye-opener that it has to stop, if Nigeria wants to move ahead.
Omolara Gbadebo, Lagos, Nigeria

The fashion in which the Muslims rioted was both predictable and foolish

Munir Mitha, Canada
It is prudent to move the contest. Safety first.
However, it is known that Nigeria is a country with a large Muslim population. It is known that in several states, Muslims have become very assertive. It is known that there is currently significant tension in Nigeria as some states adopt the Sharia. It is also known that Muslims are currently observing Ramadan, when pleasures of the flesh along with other pleasures are shunned. Why, then would the contest be held in Nigeria? Either stupid or provocative.

The fashion in which the Muslims rioted was both predictable and foolish. A rational opposition would have greater effect. The loss of lives was their own. What greater value was protected? A reasoned opposition would find many supporters. The contest is opposed by many as anti-women.
Munir Mitha, Toronto Canada

What frustrates me is the argument that the media pays little attention to what caused the riots, specifically the offensive letter about the Prophet Mohammed. While in hideous distaste, how does that justify violent protest - why don't you fight back with words, instead of killing people?
Mike Chambers, Boston, MA

Why didn't the organizers use a degree of common sense in the current climate? They were warned with petitions and threats worldwide. If one life could have been saved by avoiding further tension then this should have been employed. And the "enlightened new breed of strong women" will they be declaring world peace as they are crowned?
Kat Daniels

Nigeria is a disgrace to the whole world. I don't see reason why our so-called President, Olusegun Obasanjo, is allowing all these mass killing. I am suggesting that the country should be divided so that Peace will reign.
Mohammed Kabo, Nigeria

Nigeria has been staging beauty pageants for over 40 years.

Mukhtar, New York
Nigeria has been staging beauty pageants for over 40 years. If memory serves me right the first Miss Nigeria pageant was held as far back as the early 60s / late 50s. To the best of my knowledge there has never been any sort of rioting. The folks behind the current crisis are merely doing it for the advancement of their own political agenda and not due to any religious sentiment.
Mukhtar, New York

Being a Nigerian who spent most of his youth in the middle-belt and the North, I am greatly disappointed that our youths were incited to savage riots. Those killed or severely injured were innocent and had nothing to do with Miss World. The cause of the riot reveals that you have a population of young people who can and are ready to vent their hate and poverty when incited. The root cause is two-fold: chronic unemployment and imbalance in the distribution of wealth.

The government should begin a massive media promotion that will educate the masses and eventually make them see the ways out of poverty through cooperation and use of their resources. Clerics that incite their laity to violence should be defrocked and jailed.

May God comfort the bereaved, bring healing to the hurt and give wisdom and great courage to Nigerian leaders to utilize the vast resources in benefiting the population.
Alex Olu Balogun, Dallas, Texas USA / Edmonton AB Canada

Any religion that preaches violence is not fit to be called a religion.

Fola Balogun, New Jersey USA
I personally do not agree that the Miss World Beauty Pageant should be cancelled. Unfortunately, some northern Muslim radicals and enemies of the progress and survival of democracy in Nigeria are using the pageant and comments of a journalist to slaughter innocent human lives as if they're cows or rams. How does one justify these barbaric killings by the radical Muslims in Kaduna during their so-called Holy Ramadan period? Religion, be it Christianity, Muslim or Buddhism, was imported and imposed upon the people of Nigeria. Any religion that preaches violence and is unaccommodating to the views of decent individuals is not fit to be called a religion.
Fola Balogun, Hillside/New Jersey USA

I see people are jumping at the chance to criticize my religion and at the same time criticize Nigeria - a country they know absolutely nothing about. I do not know whether the contest should go ahead in Nigeria or not, but just to clarify the riots were over an extremely offensive article written about the Prophet Muhammad not over the contest.
Tahsin, Bangladesh

I am astonished by some of the people on this list calling what the Muslim youths did a "protest". A protest is when you object to something - for example, demanding a retraction and apology by the newspaper that published the offending lines; a "protest" is not the murdering of over 100 innocent people. It doesn't matter to me whether someone is Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Jewish, fanaticism is always a license to use religion as an excuse for the most horrific acts.
Matthew Wettlaufer, Idyllwild, USA

Isn't it about time that the Miss World contest was scrapped completely? Most of the western world considers it to be a joke anyway. It has long been considered degrading to women to parade around in bathing costumes for the titillation of men. Who could possibly even consider that a country that is capable of sentencing a woman to death by stoning for having an illegitimate child would not be offended by this contest? The death of 100 people is an unacceptable price to pay for a pageant that really has no place in modern society.
Emma I, Nynashamn, Sweden

Kudos to Miss Kenya who actually boycotted the event right from the start

Ruthuku, Sweden
Kudos to Miss Kenya who actually boycotted the event right from the start in solidarity with Ms Amina Lawal who had earlier been convicted to death by stoning under Sharia law. The whole debacle and unnecessary loss of innocent lives is symptomatic of an inherently intolerant society.
Ruthuku, Goteborg, Sweden

It was a very poor decision to have a beauty contest in a Muslim nation. I am not surprised of the resulting rioting. The Muslim people of Nigeria as well as surrounding Muslim nations need to understand that their are other people on this planet who do not necessarily have the same beliefs as them and that if somebody offends them in any way that rioting and violence is not the answer.
Colin Powers, Red Bank, USA

The idea of Nigeria hosting this nudity pageant is of course to humiliate the Muslims, as this is an era when the whole world turns against Islam and the values it carries. It appears all the people freely breathing the air provided by Allah, have values they wish to cherish and rights to uphold, except the Muslims. They are always humiliated, and when they claim their rights they are terrorists and violent people. I don't condone violence and I prefer a more better and peaceful way of treating issues of this nature, but do our governments realise anything to be serious before the occurrence of violence? We the women folk should tell the world that we are not in this world to be traded with and always be at the 'mercy' of those unscrupulous advertising corporations.
Sakina Muhd, Abuja, Nigeria

I am appalled at sad loss of life in Nigeria. This conflict has nothing to do with religion and all to do with politics. As a practising Muslim, I see no serious problem in someone making an insensitive comment about the religion or our Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him, and then realising mistake and apologising. In any event, there is no room for random killings which are totally abhorrent and against teachings of Islam and Christianity. Sooner people live with each other as people and respect humanity, sooner we can be called humans.
Shabir Ahmed, Exeter UK

They should have gone ahead for the sake of Nigeria

Sam Egwu
The response of moving the pageant to London, is not in the interest of Nigeria as the organisers claim. It will do irreparable damage to the country. They were unwise to have chosen Nigeria but having done so, they should have stuck by it. The best response of people with moral fibre, was to reach out with humility to the Muslim people, modify the contest (perhaps with veils) to suit religious sensibilities. They should have gone ahead for the sake of Nigeria and donated the charity proceeds this year to the families of the victims of the Kaduna riots. They had the opportunity to help Nigeria negotiate a new image, and Nigerians would have been eternally grateful, but their shallowness and insensitivity has shown clearly. I will not watch it on telly and urge others to avoid it.
Sam Egwu

I suspect that the riots are systematic of a deeper tension within Nigeria, rather then one the Miss World contest. The continued on-going of many monetary scams is reflective of a country whose political and social structures are meeting only the needs of an elite.
Barry b, UK

Nigeria has just lost her chance to host the Football World Cup in 2008.
Ernest Merrill, Antigua & Barbuda

Now I can't see any international event being held in Nigeria.

Linda, Kaduna, Nigeria
I am from Kaduna, Nigeria and am tired of people calling us uncivilized just because they do not understand our culture. Its even worse when a fellow Nigerian calls us uncivilized. I am a Christian and am angry about how this whole issue was handled. I feel betrayed because the Muslims have won again. The fact is Nigeria is a secular state and I don't think Muslims should dictate what happens in the country. Fine, an article was printed in the papers, what ever happened to freedom of speech? Did the church write the article? If an article was written against Jesus, I am very sure it would have been resolved on a peaceful note. My problem is Muslims always claim that their religion is peaceful but then they are so violent. In my opinion, this was the only chance Nigeria had to put herself on the map, now I can't see any international event being held in Nigeria. We have been failed.
Linda, Kaduna, Nigeria

Don't let the people of the world see Nigeria through the eye's of this evil we are seeing on our TV screen's. This is not the way the majority of Nigerian people behave. Having lived in Nigeria for many years I found the Nigerian's to be good people, this is not the way most Nigerian's want the world to see their country.
Linda, Mexico

The decision to cancel the beauty pageant show in Nigeria is not primarily because Muslim religious followers in Nigeria are against the show. The riots, which led to the decision to cancel the show, was sparked off by irresponsible journalism. How on earth could an educated editor allow such an offensive portion (referring to Prophet Mohammed) in his article to go out without expecting what we are all seeing in a religiously divided and polarized country, Nigeria? The journalist (who actually wrote the offensive article) and the editor who failed in his unique duty of editing, should all be reprimanded for setting this up. Certainly, Nigeria has not only lost another opportunity to showcase its cultural heritage as a people, but also lost another golden opportunity to align itself with the rest of the civilized world.
Nse-Obong Umana, Houston, USA

I commend the pageant organisers for moving the event to London, and I hope and pray that the Muslims there won't start another "war". The Muslims as a people must always remember that the whole world cannot go by their rules. I just find this intolerance unacceptable, and if the world is to be a better place for everyone, then Muslims surely need to leave Christians and their "unholy" events alone. If one feels the Miss World is such a useless event, then don't take part and don't watch it!! Isn't it that simple, rather than to kill and maim innocent people?
Chipo G, Harare, Zimbabwe

How could it not be right to pull out? The beauty contest set off Muslim riots in which at least 100 persons were murdered. Keeping the contest there would have led to more killings. In any case, no international event, whether beauty contest, athletic games, or political summit meeting, belongs in a country so barbaric that they stone adulterers to death.
James, Helena, Montana, USA

Nigeria has once again failed us all.

Harry, USA
I am not surprised to read about the riots. I was born in Nigeria and I grew up in Kaduna. In fact, the people there - both the Muslims and Christians - are very uncivilized. The blame is not be placed on the Muslims only, the so called Christians are also responsible in the balance of peace in that region. Nigeria has once again failed us all.
Harry, Atlanta, USA

I agree with Harry from Atlanta, USA. Why are you just blaming the Muslims? The riots were sparked off by a newspaper peace which deeply offended Muslims, at a time when they are observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadhaan. Yet no mention of this anywhere in your news piece or indeed this Talking Point. If you can't be accurate then don't bother to report it in the first place.
Bilal Patel, London, UK

Clearly the safety of the participants is overrides all other considerations. It was wise to stop it being held in Nigeria. Clearly the population needs to seek out how they intend to live together before they become fit enough to host any international events in the future. Nigeria has been weighed in the balance and found wanting...
Bill Van Duyn, Eastern Passage Canada

A beauty pageant and a predominantly Muslim population seem like an oil-water mix. With all we're currently learning about Islam, how could a planning committee seriously expect such a community to tolerate such an event? Although the Nigerian people are responsible for the primal violence, the Pageant bears the responsibility for the clash of cultures. It should never have happened.
Al Chinchar, Houston, USA

Being a Muslim myself, I am ashamed that my co-religionists would act in such an intolerant way. Though I do not agree with the Miss World pageant myself (I find it to be a sexist anachronism), I do not feel that it is every Muslim's religious obligation to police those around us, Muslim or non-Muslim, and force them to abide by one strict interpretation of the faith. Religion is personal, and if you judge someone else's action to be impious then you may consciously refrain from taking part. Muslims continuously acting this way is bad enough, but educated Muslims in the West blindly trying to defend such ignorant actions is disgraceful.
Tariq Fancy, New York, USA

I can't sleep at night.

Joy Ngakwe, Abuja, Nigeria
I come from the Christian East, but I live in the heart of Abuja. Last night, my neighbours and I had to keep a vigil because we didn't want to be slaughtered in the night by our Muslim "brothers". How every issue in Northern Nigeria acquires a religious hue I'll never know. A Newspaper publishes an insensitive article, four churches get burnt and I, as a Christian can't walk the streets in the North and I can't sleep at night. Hosting the Miss World Contest was a once in a lifetime opportunity to put Nigeria on the map of the world and in my opinion, should not have been moved.
Joy Ngakwe, Abuja, Nigeria

The organizers of Miss World beauty contest are not foolish. Nigeria was intentionally chosen for the Miss world beauty contest in order to humiliate the Muslims of Nigeria. The Muslim world is a sleeping Lion, but if the west keeps antagonizing it I am afraid it will wake up and a lot of people will be hurt.
Ali M, San Diego, CA

Having worked in Afghanistan under the Taleban and currently in Aceh, Indonesia, which is also strongly conservative Muslim I am not overly sympathetic to militant Islam, or any other militancy for that, as invariably it is the common people who suffer. At the same time however I have to say that the organisers of the pageant, by picking Nigeria as the host country, have shown crass insensitivity to local religious views.
Gavin MacMillan, Jakarta, Indonesia

The riots in Nigeria against Miss World should be condemned. For the Miss World organisers to say it has nothing to do with the contest is insensitive. The newspaper article was merely the spark that exploded the resentment created by the attitudes of the contestants to the Sharia judgement on Amina Lawal. I do not want anybody stoned, but the idea of a beauty pageant condemning deeply held religious beliefs, rather than appealing for change, is naive. There was no way the Muslim authorities would have let it go unchallenged after their most cherished ideals were rubbished internationally. They needed a face saving solution.
Sam Egwu, London, UK

To narrow one woman out of millions is wrong

Elise, California, USA
I come from a state that is very liberal in their thinking and views. But I also come from a Christian family with Christian values. God created us to be equal. Every woman is beautiful and to narrow one out of millions and say she is more beautiful than the others is, I believe, wrong. It lays a label that causes other woman to feel they are less than valuable which is far from the truth.
Elise, California, USA

I am mostly appalled by the hostile public opinion about anything to do with this country. Especially the unbalanced opinions of many Westerners, who have never set one foot in this massive continent, let alone visit Nigeria. They do not understand the culture, and yet they shoot e-opinions from the hip. I suggest they either come and see for themselves how generally very friendly, sociable and God abiding the people of Nigeria. I feel safer in Port Harcourt in the middle of the night after visiting some of the excellent and vibrant live music places than at 8pm in Soho in London, any evening.
D Min, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Miss World is still a total joke, nobody is interested in it. The only public interest here is "how much will the entrants annoy the staunch locals".
Gary Chiles, New Zealand

Being a Nigerian and a non-Muslim, it pains me to see my fellow countrymen acting in such an unruly manner. I couldn't care less about the Miss World contest.
Odikpo E, Cleveland, USA

The West should admit that it is not happy to see this contest staged in Nigeria

Y Olatatunbosun, Ibadan, Nigeria
First of all, I would like to say that I am shocked at the sensational headlines concerning the riots on Kaduna. The Muslims were protesting about references to Prophet Mohammed, not against the Miss World contest. The West should admit that it is not happy to see this contest staged in Nigeria and jump at any excuse to support their cause.
Y Olatatunbosun, Ibadan, Nigeria

Nigeria is a secular country. If the Muslims are complaining my question is: what percentage of the Nigerian population is Muslim? What does the Nigerian constitution say about the religious state of Nigeria? What percentage of the contestants are Muslim? I strongly feel these questions need to be addressed and serious consideration should be given to the contents of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. All this noise is by a set of people who declare they stand for peace yet use every available opportunity to cause trouble. It's unfortunate. Don't however think the competition should be stopped.
Hawa Bobo-Bello, Abuja, Nigeria

All other issues aside, who in heaven's name was responsible for staging this inflammatory event in a city where thousands have died as a result of the prevailing religious divide? This seems the ultimate in corruption to me - who's making the money here?
Chris, Baton Rouge, USA

Nigeria needs this event to help improve its image internationally

N Bolly, Bogota, Colombia
Yes, Nigeria should host the event. That part of Nigeria is known for rioting at the slightest provocation of any sort. And who said Nigerians don't want the contest to be held in their country? Last year the press reported the enthusiastic reaction of Nigerians flooding the internet to vote for Miss Nigeria to win the competition. Nigeria needs this event to help improve its image internationally. Think how it will boost tourism, job creation and so on.
N Bolly, Bogota, Colombia

The part of Nigeria where the riot is being staged is an historic hot spot for such an activity. It does not reflect the entire sentiment and emotion of the general Nigerian people.
K.T, Lagos, Nigeria

Being a Muslim I find it extremely offensive that our beloved Prophets name is involved in this totally frivolous activity! I'm not surprised at the reaction of the Muslim youths. Any religious community would have protested.
Ali L, London, UK

The purpose of "Miss World" is profit and therefore, the promoters will find a way to justify compromising morality by showing complete disrespect for the deeply held values of others. Whether you are a Christian, a Muslim or a Jew, there is only one planet and we should all be praying that we can find a way to get along with other before it's too late. I put peace ahead of a beauty contest.
Beth Strachan, Vancouver, Canada

I can't believe that they have not cancelled the event!. We have to comprehend that a high percentage of Nigeria's population is opposed to such type of event, even if we disagree with their hatred and violence, we need to respect their ways a little. If they proceed with the event, after more than 50 people have died, the Miss World pageant will be viewed as a participant in these tragic events that are happening in Nigeria. Chart a plane and send the bimbos to Venezuela where they glorify this type of degrading events!
Agustin Yerovi, Ecuador

Isn't it time that organizers admit that it was, to put it mildly, a mistake to even consider Nigeria as an appropriate venue for a western-style beauty pageant? Were organizers offered significant financial incentives to hold the contest in Nigeria?
Sharon Langworthy, Chicago, IL USA

I'm no fan of radical religion, but finally, here is something Muslims and Christians can agree on: women prancing around on a stage showing off their bodies for petty judgement is offensive. Come on, it's not like it's purely a talent contest with all the women in tasteful evening gowns playing concertos.
Adrienne, USA

Civil disobedience is one matter, but riots and senseless murder are another altogether. To be disgruntled by something that one does not agree with is acceptable, but to behave in such an abominable manner is completely ridiculous.
Aaron Klassen, Tucson, AZ, United States

The Miss World Contest should be moved based on the violence already confronting the people of Nigeria. I do not fault the women of the Miss World contest, but it was thoughtless of those in charge of the timing. Ramadan is a very important and serious event for Muslims and should not be taken lightly by Non-Muslims. Lets avoid violence where we can.
Pamela Dawkins, Strong, AR USA

With the Red Cross reporting 50 deaths in the wake of riots stemming from religious friction, the prudent course would be to move to another venue. If one life can be saved by reducing tensions, a timely rescheduling is undoubtedly the answer.
Chris, US

The whole idea of beauty contest should be scrapped. It just goes to show how advertising companies manipulate women as cheap commodities to be paraded naked in public.
Ousman, USA

I couldn't care less about the Miss World Contest or Nigeria for matter. But pray tell, is there any form of Western human endeavour, activity or thought that doesn't cause "affront" to Muslims?
Peter C. Kohler, Washington DC USA

I can't say I'm a big fan of such competitions I do think its rather absurd that the Islamic community is taking it so hard, surely tolerance of varying religious beliefs should go both ways. Why shouldn't non Muslims have the right to do things during Ramadan, no one is forcing the Muslims to attend Miss World, they don't even have to talk about it if they don't want to.
Andrew Ferguson, UK

I see the religion of peace and tolerance is at it again.
Neill Courtney, Ardmore, Oklahoma (ex UK)

Yes it should go ahead but I think there are more enlightened countries to hold it in. The place of women in a Muslim society is well documented and with the wave of 'fundamentalism' sweeping the world I would have chosen a more hospitable country.
John, France

People really need to lighten up. Killing and rioting over a stupid beauty pageant? If it weren't so serious and tragic, it would be hilarious. Those who don't approve of beauty pageants don't have to participate or watch. It's that simple.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

 VOTE RESULTS
Was the press to blame for Miss World fiasco?

Yes
 49.23% 

No
 50.77% 

130 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


Miss World row

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