Bahrain's Wafa Yaqoub took the title of Miss Arab World 2007 after beating out 19 other contestants from across the Middle East, Bahrain's Gulf Daily News reported on Saturday.
Dressed in a traditional Bahraini dress with her head covered, the 23-year-old teacher from the Law Faculty of Bahrain University was Bahrain's first ever candidate in the Miss Idealistic Arab World contest in Cairo, Egypt, the paper reported.
The first runner-up went to the 25-year-old Miss Egypt, Shaimma Mansour and Miss Lebanon Abeer Layous, 23, became the second runner-up.
A total of 10,000 participants from 16 Arab countries were represented in the contest.
The aim of competition was to find the person who best embodied the humanitarian and academic achievements of the modern Arab woman.
It was the first time that contestants could choose to wear the hijab, and all participants were encouraged to dress modestly.
Despite the aims of the competition, it was not without controversy. Yaqoub had pulled out of the event after a columnist in a Bahrain-based Arabic newspaper wrote that the event was a thinly disguised beauty contest, but went ahead later after a groundswell of support, the Gulf Daily News said.
Crowned by Miss Arab World 2006 Claudia Hanna from Iraq, Ms Yaqoub will now take charge of various humanitarian projects connected with the competition.
Bahrain Businesswomen's Society president and Migrant Worker's Protection Society chairwoman Mona Almoayyed welcomed Yaqoub's win.
"I am very happy she won. It's very good for Bahrain. It makes all Bahraini women very proud," she told GDN. "And she wore the hijab, which she believes in, and this shows Arab women can participate in many things. It brings out Arab women as being equal and independent which is very good for Bahraini women."
The contest was part of the Second Arab Tourism Festival, which also opened in Egypt on Wednesday.