Ahlam El Brinis, 20, was born in Padua to Moroccan parents and has been selected for the semi-final of the Miss Italy beauty contest, which will take place in the coastal town of Jesolo on September 20th.
She lives in Montebelluna near Treviso.
“I would like to keep religion out of Miss Italy,” she told Italian media.
“Miss Italy is a beauty contest, religion doesn’t enter into it and I don’t want everything focused on that.”
El Brinis was selected for the title of Miss Elegance for the north-east region of Friuli Venezia Giulia and is due to take part in the semi-final of this year’s national contest.
Her provocative photographs featuring her in scantily clad bikinis and lingerie have provoked a barrage of insults and threats against her on social media for dishonouring Islam.
“Insults and threats don’t hurt me,” she told La Tribuna di Treviso newspaper.
“I will follow my own path. I have the total support of my family and my boyfriend Christian who uses social media to defend me.”
El Brinis says she was raised Muslim but is a non-practising Muslim.
“Everyone is free to choose and follow their religion in their own way,” she said in an interview. “I am aware that there are more conservative people who might think that I am mistaken about what I do.
“But honestly that doesn’t interest me because I have my family’s support and that is enough for me.
“Whoever is attacking me has an old-fashioned attitude. They are writing about me on Facebook, they are offending me. What I am doing wrong by modeling?”
El Brinis declined to comment further when contacted by The Local.