|Beauty pageant titleholder|
Kohistani during Miss England 2006
December 19, 1987
|Title(s)||Miss England 2005|
|Miss England 2005
Miss World 2005
Hammasa Kohistani (Persian: حماسه کوهستانی, born December 19, 1987) is a British model, who became the first Muslim beauty contestant to be crowned Miss England in 2005. She was crowned at the age of 18, following a two-day competition at Liverpool's Olympia Theatre on 3 September 2005, and was chosen from 40 contestants.
Kohistani was born in 1987 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, when it was part of the USSR while her parents were living there as Afghan refugees. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan her parents fled to what was then the Uzbek SSR in the Soviet Union. She and her parents returned to Kabul, Afghanistan, but in 1996 they escaped from there when the Taliban took control of the city. They eventually made it to the United Kingdom and settled in Southall, in West London, where her father Kushal set up a fast food restaurant.
She won the competition as a brunette, dressed in an ivory white chiffon and silk ball gown. She later said "When they announced that I had won I thought I had misheard. I hoped they hadn't, but it took a second to sink in."
She also said that she was "happy to make history," that "I'm making history and I'm very happy. Hopefully I won't be the last" and that she was looking forward to representing England in the Miss World championships.
The Miss England competition included another Muslim, Sarah Mendly, who had been voted Miss Nottingham. Her entry had caused controversy, since contestants typically wear relatively little clothing, and was called upon to pull out of the contest by the Liverpool Islamic Institute.
Kohistani was featured in Teen Vogue magazine, in May 2006.
After Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke to members of parliament on the anniversary of the 7 July 2005 London bombings, saying that Muslims needed to curb extremism, Kohistani criticised the government as stirring up animosity against Muslims.
- "First Muslim Miss England crowned". BBC News. 4 September 2005. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- Akbar, Arifa (1 September 2006). "Message to middle England: 'We don't all wear burqas'". The Independent. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- "History made by UK Muslim model". BBC News. 10 December 2005. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- Hassan, Farsuda (31 August 2006). "Beauty queen enters Islamophobia debate". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2010.