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Indonesian clerics call for ban of Miss World competition

Jakarta:  An Indonesian Islamic group has called on the government to cancel next month's Miss World pageant, saying women exposing skin in a competition violates Muslim teachings.

Ulema Council chairman Amidan Shaberah said a top-level meeting of clerics was held earlier this month to respond to protests from some groups over Indonesia's hosting of the event, even after organizers agreed to cut the famed bikini competition.

The council is an influential Islamic body that often issues edicts, including controversial rulings against smoking and yoga. Though not legally binding, many devoted Muslims follow such decrees because ignoring them is considered a sin.

The Islamic Defenders Front, a hard-line group with a history of violence, has vowed to protest the competition.

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