10 Jan 2019

Miss Algeria beauty queen hits back at racist abuse

12:36 pm on 10 January 2019
Khadija Ben Hamou, who has faced racist abuse after being crowned Miss Algeria 2019.

Khadija Ben Hamou, who has been crowned the winner of the 2019 Miss Algeria beauty pageant Photo: Youtube

The newly crowned winner of the Miss Algeria beauty pageant has hit back at critics who have hurled racial abuse at her because of her skin colour.

"I will not back down because of the people who criticised me," Khadija Ben Hamou told Algerian news site TSA.

Slurs about her dark skin colour, nose and lips have been made on Facebook and Twitter.

Darker-skinned Algerians face discrimination in the North African state.

Ms Ben Hamou, who comes from the southern Adrar region, said that she was proud of her identity and winning the competition.

"I am honoured that I have achieved my dream, and I am honoured by the state of Adrar where I come from," she said.

"I also encourage the girls of my region to participate in the competition if they wish to do so," she added.

According to the fashion magazine Vogue, she is the second black woman - after Nassima Mokadem in 2005 - to win the annual beauty pageant.

Ms Ben Hamou took part in 20 rounds of the competition before being crowned Miss Algeria 2019 on Saturday.

Her critics said she did not represent the beauty of Algeria, but she has received support from others on social media.

Ms Ben Hamou told TSA, "Do not judge people without their knowledge, there is no difference between black and white."

Miss Algerie, the pageant organiser, said it deplored "the racist behaviour and comments of several people as a result of publications and retouched photos".