Exclusive: Miss Africa USA 2010. Her thoughts as a Muslim on the Ground Zero Mosque
Communications and Broadcasting Major, #Fifi Soumah, 22, beat 31 other contestants to win the #Miss Africa USA 2010 beauty pageant in Maryland. She is a Guinean Muslim and also winner of the Miss #Guinea USA crown. Soumah’s victory comes at a time when the country is debating an issue that relates to Muslims all over the United States; the Ground zero mosque. #African Vibes sat with the Beauty Queen to discuss her win, her thoughts on ground zero mosque and her inspiration.
Congratulations on your win. It is no easy feat to compete against 300 applicants to be selected as one of 32 delegates and to make it all the way to the top as the winner of a very competitive pageant as the Miss Africa USA. What do you think made you stand out during this competition?
I must admit that all 32 delegates who made it to the finals were very beautiful and talented. It was the little things that made me stand out, such as my stage presence, eye contact, smile, involving my entire audience in everything I said or did on stage, and my confidence. I stayed focused the entire journey of the competition. It was a fun journey with the ladies…we had many laughs.
What was it like right before you were announced the winner?
Wow…I had a lot of different emotions going on inside of me. I was however, mostly nervous, yet expecting, while trying to stay calm and confident.
You did impress the judges. Now that you have risen to the top and earned the crown, what will you like to accomplish with your new role?
I will like to continue my platform of raising awareness of the ills of practices of #Female Genital Mutilation (#FGM) which cause several adverse effects to the health of a growing young female who is a victim of such practices. I hope to continue pushing for change and for the eradication of such practices in Guinea and other parts of the world. I will also be actively carrying out activities to educate especially the girl child in underserved communities in Guinea. My activities will range from supplying school supplies and a comfortable learning environment. I will also work with the non-profit organizations here in the US and in Guinea serving the community. I will be traveling to Guinea to work on my projects on the ground. I also plan bridge the gap between Africa and the US by encouraging and organizing trips to Africa and promoting cultural exchange. While I remain a fulltime student, I will be every involved in serving my community.
African Women of today are fast becoming a part of the African society, and not just passive listeners and women who solely take instructions and are pushed around. While they remain respectful, they are strong, beautiful, smart and very talented. Who would have ever thought many years ago that an African country will one day have a woman as President? I see today’s African woman as one who does not wait to see change, but is part of making the change.
As a 22 year old, my stories may not be many, but as a strong African woman living in America from Guinea, my stories are vast. I have faced many challenges in life but never once did I give up. I always set my goals and work towards accomplishing them each time. I ask that every woman should give herself a purpose in life, be a voice in your community, stay true and dedicated and never fall short of what you believe, even when others tell you that you can’t…because you can!
Your win as Miss Africa USA 2010 comes around a time when the United States is engaged in a heavy debate about building a Mosque close to where September 11th attacks happened. There are those who say it is an insensitive move and others who argue that it is the constitutional right of the Muslims to build a Mosque there. As a Muslim, what are your thoughts on this debate?
As a Muslim and a good citizen I agree with the construction of the Mosque at ground zero. The United States of America is built on freedom and this includes religious freedom therefore all citizens have the right to practice their religion. We all need to be sensitive towards the families of the victims of 9/11, it was a huge loss for the United States of America and also for all religions. This sensitivity shouldn’t be used to go against our constitution. Terrorists are not Muslims because in Islam no one has the right to kill innocent people, so all Muslims shouldn’t have to suffer because of the actions of terrorists. Not letting this project happen in America will give victory to the terrorists.
Her Inspiration: My Mother inspires me. She has taught me so much and provided me with the tools to navigate through life. She believes in me and supports my projects and dreams. Her never ending promise of love for me continuous to flow. She is everything I want to be. Mama, you are my number one fan!
Her Favorite Books: The “Qu’ran” because to me God is first in everything. My second favorite book is By Agatha Christie “And then there were none” and the third is about my vampire lover Edward (laugh)”Twilight” by Stephanie Meyer.
Her Favorite Guinean Dish: My favorite Guinean dish is “konkweh”, which is made out of smoked fish cooked with palm oil. Yummy!!!
What she loves about Guinea: The food and hospitality of the Guinean people.
What she will change about Guinea: I will give a voice to the younger generation and the women. I believe we stand to have a better Guinea and Africa as a whole with new ideas from the youths as legislators and with our mothers taking their managerial skills from the homes into other sectors of the country.