10/08/2017 12:06 SAST | Updated 10/08/2017 12:27 SAST

Muslim Beauty Queen Praised For Refusing To Wear A Bikini On Stage

"I want to tell all girls and boys across the world that you should never apologise for being you."

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Pageants have long been called out for not being representative of all women, in all their body sizes, shapes, religious beliefs, cultural associations and even sexual orientations.

This is why any form of diversity is celebrated, as we're seeing with Muslim model Muna Jama.

Praise keeps pouring in for Jama, who became the first model in the Miss Universe Great Britain pageant's history not to wear a bikini in the swimsuit round. Wearing one goes against Jama's religious beliefs. The 27-year-old told Metro UK: "I wouldn't wear a bikini to the beach, so I'm not going to wear one in a competition to score points."

The Somali-British model walked the bikini portion of the recently held competition in a kaftan instead.

A post shared by Muna Jama (@ms_munajama) on

"I just wanted to stay true to myself and not do anything that I don't do outside my normal life," she told Vogue.

Read: This Former Miss SA Finalist Is So Over Fighting A Daily Battle With Food

Many have seen the decision by pageant bosses to allow the kaftan as indicative of more inclusivity in a competition that does not typically celebrate diverse women.

A post shared by Muna Jama (@ms_munajama) on

Social media users see it as another gain for Muslim women in the fashion and beauty industry.

Meanwhile, Somali-American model Halima Aden made history last year by becoming the first hijab-wearing model to participate in the Miss Minnesota USA competition. Aden was also the first woman to wear a burkini during the swimsuit portion of the competition.

A post shared by Halima Aden (@kinglimaa) on

Although Jama did not win, she believed her decision was a game-changer. On her Instagram page, she wrote: "It takes bravery, emotional resilience and most importantly surrounding yourself with strong-minded people who are prepared to make great sacrifices to welcome permanent and positive change."

People across the globe have described her as "bold" and "inspirational" and have congratulated her for standing by her beliefs