(JNS.org) Former Miss USA pageant winner Rima Fakih, who became the first Muslim and Arab-American to win the title in 2010, has reportedly converted to Christianity.
According to the Middle East news site Albawaba, Fakih converted to Christianity in April ahead of her marriage to Christian music producer Wassim Salibi.
While Fakih’s crowning as Miss USA drew praise from many within the Arab and Muslim-American community, some within the Muslim community did not feel she properly represented her religion.
In a tweet on March 30 Rakih also quoted a verse from the New Testament, possibly indicating her new faith.
"Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me," Fakih wrote.
Born in Lebanon but raised in New York and Michigan, Fakih comes from a Shi’a Muslim family. However, in a 2010 interview with the Huffington Post, Rima noted that Islam did not play a huge role in her family life and that she has relatives who are Christian.
"We’re more of a spiritual family. Religion really doesn’t define me or my family. My family’s been very liberal, and we appreciate all different kinds of religions,” Fakih said. "I have a family that is a mix of different religions and different ethnicities. My brother-in-law is Christian, and he (and my sister) baptized their two sons. I have an uncle who converted to Christianity, and he’s a priest now."
Fakih, who said she also attended Catholic school growing up, added that "We’d go to church on Easter. We always had a Christmas tree and every year we go the Radio City Christmas Show, and watch “The Miracle on 34th Street. But we celebrate some of the Islamic holidays as well."