ST. CLOUD, Minn. - A Somali-American woman will be the first to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA contest while wearing a hijab and other modest Muslim clothing that keeps her fully covered.
Nineteen-year-old Halima Aden of St. Cloud will be part of the competition Saturday and Sunday in Burnsville. In addition to her hijab, she'll wear a full-body outfit called a burkini during the swimsuit competition, and she'll modify evening gowns to be more modest.
Denise Wallace, executive co-director of the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, says in a statement to Minnesota Public Radio News that the company values inclusion and celebrates diversity.
Aden says she's been bullied for wearing her hijab, and hopes the beauty pageant will be an avenue to bust some misconceptions about her religious and cultural beliefs.