Saturday, 7 February 2015

Monique Jaques | Miss Muslimah

Photo © Monique Jaques - All Rights Reserved
To counter the gory headlines of the recent current events in the Middle East, the photo essay on Miss Muslimah may be a relief. It's an award competition that seeks to be the opposite of a beauty pageant, and which took place in Yogakarta, Indonesia in 2014. It's for young Muslim women who are judged to have shown dedication, reputation and concern for Islamic values and community development.

With Indonesia being the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, the event is popular and is attracting an increasingly international lineup. Entrants from Trinidad, Nigeria, Iran, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and many Southeast Asian countries take part. 

The hijab is a controversial topic amongst Muslims and non-Muslims alike. While the Qur'an requests Muslim women to dress modestly, it does not specifically institute a dress code. However, most Islamic legal systems define modest dressing as covering everything except the face and hands in public. Wives of the Prophet Muhammad are said to have been hidden behind curtains from the rest of the Muslim congregation because his home was constantly visited by people. Muslim women started then to emulate this tradition by wearing veils and face covers.

For more background information and other images, drop by Al Jazeerah America 's High Heels & Hijabs.

Monique Jaques is a photojournalist based in Istanbul, who spent the past four years focused on documenting issues in the Middle East as well as Afghanistan and India. She graduated from New York University's Photography and Imaging program, and was nominated for the Prix Bayeux- Calvados ‘Young Reporter’ award. Her project ‘Growing Up on The Gaza Strip’, was first published in the New York Times. She was selected as one of the recipients of the PROOF Award for the Emerging Photojournalist for her work in Post-War Libya and featured in the Bursa Photography Festival. She was also featured in the Ian Parry Scholarship show in 2009 and received an Honorable Mention for the 2008 New York Photo Awards. Her work has been published by The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, The Economist, GEO, The Guardian, and CNN, among others.