Australia’s first Muslim Miss Australia, Esma Voloder, has spoken out in support of marriage equality.

Voloder, a psychologist, is about to represent Australia in the Miss World competition in China, SBS News has reported.

“I think it is Australian culture to have acceptance and these are the things we should continue to focus on and continue to talk about with respect,” said Voloder.

“I believe that everyone has equal rights.”

The 25-year-old Bosnian–Australian’s selection as Miss Australia was somewhat controversial, with some arguing that a Muslim should not have won, but Voloder has forgiven the haters and says she wants to use her platform for good.

“I’ve forgiven [critics] because I don’t know their intentions behind why they say what they do,” said Voloder.

“I came in here to do the best that I can in terms of fulfilling my belief which is doing charity and doing good work.

“Whether it is about my faith or my looks, criticism is something that is to be expected. Coming from a psychological background, I guess I am just trying to learn how to remain positive.”

The Miss World contest also runs Beauty with a Purpose, an initiative to raise funds for charity.

“If we want to talk about my faith and bring that into it, it teaches me why I am here and to focus on the ultimate goal, which is to do charity, do good… and to do the best you can with the time you have to be the best person that you can,” said Voloder.

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