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Iraq Just Held Its First Beauty Pageant In More Than 40 Years

Shaymaa Abdelrahman is the country's first pageant winner since 1972.

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There was no swimsuit contest in the pageant. Instead, the women competed in an evening wear competition and presented charity projects. Abdelrahman's platform is education, especially among refugee populations.

The pageant was originally supposed to take place in October, but threats against it from religious fundamentalists and conservative groups within Iraq caused the contest to be delayed.

Qassim will go on to compete in the Miss Universe competition in 2016.

Karim Kadim / AP

"I'm very happy to see Iraq going forward," she told Agence France-Presse. "This event was huge and put a smile on the faces of the Iraqis."

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