The pageant was the first to be held in Baghdad. "Iraq needed this," pageant director Ahmed Leith said. "The situation is weak here, and we wanted to celebrate this the same way other countries like Lebanon and others do. To have a sense of normalcy."
Qasim told AFP after her victory: 'I'm very happy to see Iraq going forward. This event was huge and put a smile on the faces of the Iraqis.'
Newly crowned Miss Iraq, 20-year old Shaima Qassim, celebrates after being crowned at the end of the 2015 Miss Iraq Final in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015.
The new Miss Iraq has reportedly received a threatening phone call from Isis - demanding she join their ranks or be kidnapped.
The beauty queen, from Kirkuk in northern Iraq, told NBC News: “I want to prove that the Iraqi woman has her own existence in society, she has her rights like men. I am afraid of nothing, because I am confident what I am doing is not wrong.”
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