• The winner of this year's Miss World Australia pageant, Esma Voloder, says she's suffered abuse for being Muslim. (Esma Voloder/ Instagram)
The ugly abuse of Australia's first Muslim Miss World Australia has not tarnished Esma Voloder's beauty pageant win.
By
Camille Bianchi , Michelle Rimmer

Source:
SBS World News
21 Jul 2017 - 8:48 PM 

The winner of this year's Miss World Australia pageant, Esma Voloder, says she's suffered abuse for being Muslim.

Within hours of being crowned, Ms Voloder was aware of complaints from members of the public, who demanded another winner be chosen.

"There have been some negative comments about my background or my beliefs," she said.

Miss World Australia has told media they've received demeaning phone calls asking "how did you let a Muslim win?"

For her part, Ms Voloder says her role will not be tarnished by discriminatory commentary.

"I've forgiven them because I don't know their intentions behind why they say what they do. I came in here to do the best that I can in terms of fulfilling my belief which is doing charity and doing good work," she said.

The psychology graduate and criminal profiler was born in a refugee camp after her parents fled war-torn Bosnia while her mother was pregnant with her.

Ms Voloder's history echoes that of Miss Universe Australia 2015 winner, Monika Redulovik, who escaped the Bosnian war with her parents, aged four.

It is also not the first reported case of discrimination based on cultural background, religion or race.

Alice Su became the first Asian Australian to secure the Miss Australia International title in early 2017 and says, she has also experienced prejudice since claiming the crown.

"I get looks sometimes whenever I go to an event or whenever I get introduced to other women or even young people," Ms Su said.

Both pageant winners say they will continue to be worthy ambassadors in their respective roles, and embrace the beauty of charity in favour of ugly prejudice.

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