- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The new Miss USA is a pole-dancing Shi’ite Muslim who counts the Hezbollah terrorist group as part of her loyal fan base. Or, as the Los Angeles Times put it, Rima Fakih is “the poster girl for modern America.”

Miss Fakih, who as Miss Michigan took the Miss USA crown last weekend, was born in southern Lebanon and, as commentator Debbie Schlussel has reported, has extensive family connections to Hezbollah. But that reportage has been overshadowed by the more politically correct “first Arab-American Miss USA” storyline, dovetailing as it does with President Obama’s efforts to promote Islam at home and abroad.

The first Arab-American to win the Miss USA crown was really Julie Hayek in 1983. However, Miss Hayek was a Lebanese Christian, and the notion of Christian Arabs is probably too complicated for the liberal media to bother explaining.

Regardless of the issue of Miss Fakih’s purported political leanings, this year’s pageant sank to new lows. The contestants participated in lingerie photo shoots that were only slightly less explicit than the amateur soft-core porn that cost Miss Nevada 2007 Katie Rees her crown. It was simply bad timing for Miss Rees. Three years later, the controversial became the conventional.

The Miss Universe Organization is now reportedly looking into Miss Fakih’s participation in a “Stripper 101” competition put on by a Detroit radio station in 2007. Miss Fakih won the contest, which did not involve actually stripping but just going through the motions. In fact, more of her body was covered “stripping” three years ago than in the swimsuit competition on Sunday.

Investigating Miss Fakih for her pole-dancing expertise is premature. The way things are going at the pageant, pole dancing may well be featured next year in the talent competition.

The pageant also has taken on a hint of left-leaning political correctness. In years gone by, it was a standing joke that contestants would blather something about world peace during the question period. Now, competitors can expect to be drilled on controversial matters of public policy. Last year, Miss California Carrie Prejean was criticized by homosexual activists for her response to a question about same-sex “marriage.”

This year’s victim was Miss Oklahoma Morgan Elizabeth Woolard, who was hit with a hot-button question regarding Arizona’s new law against illegal immigrants. She said she was “a huge supporter of states’ rights” and that the Arizona law was “perfectly fine.” Miss Woolard had been leading Miss Fakih by a wide margin through the swimsuit and evening gown portions of the competition, but - like Miss Prejean last year - the Okie finished as first runner-up.

The judges passed up the opportunity to ask Miss Fakih about her views on radical Islamic terrorism or whether Israel has a right to exist.

Participating in this type of organized sleaze-fest is not what parents should want for their daughters. But as a newly crowned ambassador for modern American womanhood, Miss Fakih is demonstrating to the suffering women of the Middle East that there is life beyond the burkha.