The Times of India, May 20 2010
city of Detroit and the socially beleaguered Arab-American community
both got a
shot in the arm over the weekend when a Michigan beauty won the Miss USA
title to much acclaim across the country.
Rima Fakih, a 24-year old
Lebanese immigrant, is believed to be the first Muslim to win the
despite stumbling over her evening gown during the finale in Las Vegas
Fakih moved to the United States as a child and attending a
Catholic school, celebrating both Muslim and Christian faiths, according
News of her victory delighted Arab-Americans and
Muslim-Americans, whose largest concentration in the US is in the city
Dearborn, just outside Detroit, Michigan.
'This is the real face of
Arab Americans, not the stereotypes you hear about,' Zouheir Alawieh, a
resident told the Detroit Free Press, the local daily that also
win. 'We have culture. We have beauty. We have history, and today we
history... She believed in her dreams.'
With two US. flags in front
of the stage inside a Dearborn restaurant, Arab Americans cheered,
sang into the night Sunday for Rima Fakih, the paper reported.
the pageant, Fakih nearly tripped over her evening gown because of the
its train, but recovered to answer her interview question with poise,
a liberal outlook in the process.
She was asked whether she thought
birth control should be paid for by health insurance. She said she
should because it is expensive.
"I believe that birth control is just
like every other medication even though it’s a controlled substance,"
said, in a response that will cause more than a frown among the
She also revealed a lighter touch. When asked how she felt
about winning the crown, she responded: "Ask me after I've had a
Fakih is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she
earned her bachelor’s degree in economics with a minor in business
administration, according to a pageant release. Currently a marketing
at Detroit Medical Center, she said she planned to attend law school
completing her term as Miss USA.
Michigan, particularly the
Detroit-Dearborn area, is in an economic funk following the decline of
automobile industry that gave the America’s 11th largest metropolis the
"Mo-town" moniker. Fittingly, Fakih’s win was followed by General Motors
posting its first quarterly profit since 2007.
There is no accurate
count of Muslims in the US, much less those of Arabic descent, since the
Census Bureau does not collect data on the basis of religion. Muslim
in the country ranges from 7 million, claimed by the Council on
Relations (CAIR) to 2.5 million estimated by the Pew Research