As ThinkProgress previously documented, right-wing pundits reacted with rage to the crowning of Rima Fakih as Miss USA. The right highlighted her Muslim and Arab identity to label her as a terrorist sympathizer and the product of “an odd form of affirmative action.” Her victory has also set off a debate among many Muslims, with some questioning to what degree is she representative of Islam. Speaking for herself, Fakih said her message is: “Don’t stereotype Muslim women.” In an interview with Al Jazeera’s Riz Khan this weekend, Fakih confirmed that she is a Muslim, but noted that she does not like to respond to questions about her faith because other pageant contestants aren’t expected to answer similar questions. But, she added:
I mean, we all have in every religion – you have your conservative and your liberal. I think we all have a tendency to forget that. And one more thing, I’m Miss USA, I’m not Miss Religion. I’m not Miss anything else. I think I’m misunderstood if you understand what I mean.