Cape Town — The organisers of Miss Algeria have defended 2019's winner after racist comments and the publication of "degrading and retouched photos".
Their statement, published on Facebook, said they "deplored" the reactions of "several people" on the victory of what is being called the country's first black Algerian queen. But others are reporting that Khadija Ben Hamou is the second black woman to win the pageant - the first was reportedly Nassima Mokadem in 2005.
Ben Hamou, who comes from the southern Adrar region where discrimination against darker-skinned Algerians is common, told local media she will "not back down" after Facebook and Twitter users criticised the shape of her nose and lips.
The shocking comments shows how little understanding Algerians have of their own cultural and ethnic diversity, according to Vogue ME.
Here is the full statement from Miss Algeria's organisers:
The organization of MISS ALGERIA deplores the behavior and racist comments of several people following publications of degrading and retouched photos.
We give you two pictures of our pretty MISS ALGERIA 2019 while waiting others who will follow soon.
Organization of MISS ALGERIA.