In a world where racism didn’t exist, last week would have been a time of celebration for Algerian beauty queen Khadija Ben Hammou. Instead, the newly crowned Miss Algeria has been fighting off persistent derogatory and downright racist comments deeply rooted in anti-blackness.
Almost immediately after being crowned, hundreds of users flocked to social media to express their dismay at Ben Hammou’s win, attacking the pageant queen with shocking comments regarding her skin colour.
And this week, Kuwaiti journalist Fajr El Saeed joined the racist critics on live TV. “You’re not participating in a cultural or folk festival” she said before adding, “You are in a beauty pageant competition… I don’t know why they chose you.”
Her theory? Ben Hammou’s win reflects Algeria’s political climate, whereby she was chosen as the winner in a bid to entice anger from Algerians.
“I think people are angry at their political situation, so they said, let’s make Khadija a beauty queen so that whenever someone looks at Miss Algeria, they get angry” El Saeed said mockingly.
Ben Hammou has not issued a response to El Saeed’s comments. As for the critics who preceded the Kuwaiti journalist, the Adrar-native responded to the racial abuse, telling Algerian news site TSA: “I will not back down because of the people who criticised me”.
Meanwhile the Miss Algeria organisation expressed its support for their pageant winner in a statement that read “Miss Algeria’s organisation deplore the behavior and racist comments of several people”.
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هنيئا للجزائر الحبيبه هذه الملكه… الّتي هي برواز لثقافة امتزج فيها الجمال بالعقل ، والشموخ في الحضور، أحببتها ووجدت فيها كلّ ماهو مطلوب، فلا حدود للجمال في عين من يعلم ، أنّ الجمال والحضور والقبول ليس لهم مقاييس محدّده ، إلّا عند من حدّد بنفسه لروحه وقلبه وعيناه ، مايقبله عقله المهترئ وشعوره المحدود وضميره المهلل #خديجه_بن_حمو جميله وملكه من أرض الأبطال #الجزائر
Following the abuse, thousands of Ben Hamma’s supporters took to Twitter and Instagram to commemorate her win. One of which included Syrian pop-star Assala Nasri who posted a heartfelt message to her 5.1 million Instagram followers saying, “There is no limit to beauty in the eye of those who know that beauty and acceptance have no specific standards”.