BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: N Ireland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 22 November, 2002, 22:14 GMT
Miss NI leaves Nigeria pageant
The Miss World contestants have been closely guarded
The Miss World contestants have been closely guarded
Miss Northern Ireland Gail Williamson has pulled out of the Miss World competition in Nigeria.

Ms Williamson decided to return home after riots sparked by Muslim anger over the pageant spread to the country's capital Abuja.

Her mother Olga Simms said she was concerned for her daughter's safety, but that Gail had already decided to fly home.

Ms Williamson is still in Abuja and is expected to fly home on Saturday

Abuja's main mosque
Miss World contestants are staying near Abuja's main mosque

On Friday hundreds of Muslim youths went on the rampage in Abuja, following Friday prayers.

The riots began at Abuja's central mosque, a short distance from the hotel where the 90 Miss World contestants are staying amid tight security.

People armed with sticks, daggers and knives set fire to vehicles and attacked anyone they suspected of being Christian.

The northern city of Kaduna is now under curfew after two days of rioting in protest at the Miss World beauty contest, which left at least 100 people dead.

The protests began after a newspaper suggested that the Prophet Mohammed would have probably chosen to marry one of the Miss World contestants if he had witnessed the beauty pageant.

Muslim groups say the contest is immoral and degrading to women, and are also angry that preliminary events began during the holy month of Ramadan.

Despite the violence, the contest's organisers said on Friday they intended to go ahead with the event.

The pageant's final has now been postponed until 7 December - after the end of Ramadan.

Appeals for calm

The Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, appeared on national television on Friday to appeal for calm.

He said the pageant organisers should not see themselves as the cause of the riots.

"It could happen at any time irresponsible journalism is committed against Islam," he said.

But, in a BBC interview, Nigerian singing star Femi Kuti has backed the opponents of the pageant, although he condemned the religious origin of protests.

"Why are they making Nigeria and Africa divided? We have enough problems," he told Newshour on the BBC World Service.

The Nigerian Government has assured Muslims that those responsible for the offending article, which appeared in ThisDay newspaper, would be brought to account.

ThisDay has retracted it and has published apologies.

Have you witnessed the violence in Nigeria? Send us your experiences using the form below.

Send us your comments:
Name:

Your E-mail Address:


Country:

Comments:

Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Loyn
"The riots have paralysed one of Nigeria's key cities"
Guy Murray-Bruce, Miss World publicist
"It's just a form of entertainment which in a democratic setting should be allowed"
Anthony Goldman, Financial Times
"What the pageant has done is to showcase Nigeria at its absolute worst"
 VOTE RESULTS
Should the Miss World Pageant be cancelled?

Yes
 58.45% 

No
 41.55% 

14484 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


Miss World row

Analysis

Features

BACKGROUND

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Turning ugly
Miss World: Was it right to quit Nigeria?
See also:

22 Nov 02 | Africa
22 Nov 02 | Africa
22 Nov 02 | Entertainment
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more N Ireland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes