Three finalists barred from competing in the Miss Malyasia World pageant have issued an apology, addressing claims that their presence in the beauty contest was insulting to Islam.
Three of the four dropped contestants -- Wafa Johanna De Korte, Sara Amelia Bernard, Miera Sheikh and Kathrina Binti Ridzuan -- said they respect Malay culture and did not intend to hurt any religion, according to a report in the Times of India.
The women issued their formal apology to the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi) after the National Fatwa Council issued an edict against them, citing the Administration of Islamic Law act of 1996, which states that participating, organizing or contributing to any type of beauty contest is not permissible and a sin for Muslims.
The Malay Mail reported that Islamic authorities deemed the contestants' desire to represent Malaysia in an international beauty contest illegal.
Jawi director Datuk Che Mat Che Ali said Jawi's enforcement unit would investigate the violation.
The organizer of this year’s Miss Malaysia World contest, Datuk Anna Lim, was disappointed that the country could not be represented by Malays in an international beauty pageant, according to the Malay Mail report.
The report did not make it clear whether a fourth disqualified contestant would apologize.
The women were told if they competed in the event, they could face a fine or jail time if convicted, the Malay Mail reported.