A few hours after announcing Rīmā Faqīh as Miss America, 2010, being the first Arab-Muslim to win this title, ABC News published photos of her as a contestant in the “Stripper 101 contest” in 2007. Mojo Radio also published photos of Faqīh dancing in shorts.
The committee responsible for organizing the beauty pageant event called Mojo Radio to ask for more information about the “Stripper 101 contest.” Mojo Radio said that it is a contest held at their station, and is attended by women who are professional strippers. The station added that Rīmā Faqīh won jewelry, and that she did not totally strip naked before the committee. US media wondered whether the beauty pageant committee would take any action against Faqīh.
Faqīh’s winning of the title, as a Lebanese – American, shed more light on the Arab minority living in the US and their contribution to American life and culture, especially after trying to marginalize their role by spreading stereotypical images of Arabs. Faqīh’s sparkling character on stage came in contradiction to this stereotypical image of Arabs, and made the committee grant her the title because of her quick response to the questions portion.
The US is currently dealing with this controversy since many of the viewers objected to the committee’s decision, and connected Faqīh with Hizb Allāh, saying that they were funding Faqīh to pass through the contest and win it.
There were also objections among conservative Arabs living in the US. Faqīh said that she understands why conservatives object to the idea of showing her body and beauty the way she does.