Sunday, August 7, 2011

Koran by Heart

Quranic recitation might seem an unlikely subject to capture the hearts of an American audience but a documentary following three 10-year-old children as they compete in a Cairo competition has managed to do just that.

Quran By Heart premiered on the HBO channel in the United States on the first day of Ramadan last week amid critical acclaim and after receiving standing ovations at last year's Tribeca Film Festival.

Greg Barker, an American-British former war correspondent and the film's director, chose Cairo's annual contest, the oldest in the world, to tell a wider story about the role of Islam in the everyday lives of Muslims around the world.

"I'm really interested in what I saw as the internal discussion of Islam and the role of faith in the Muslim world about whether to embrace fundamentalism or to take a more modern approach," said Mr Barker in a telephone interview with The National from his home in California.

"I was looking to make a film that spoke to that without being too intellectual or remote. The Quran competition was a way of looking at the next generation of Muslims around the world," he said.

Filmed during last year's Cairo contest of the 110 best young students of Quranic memorisation from more than 70 countries, the documentary follows three youngsters and their families in their non-Arabic-speaking countries.

Rifdha Rasheed, from the Maldives, is one of the few girls taking part and is accompanied to Cairo by her father, who wants her to pursue a religious education while her mother wants her to follow her desire to study science.

Djamil Djeng is from rural Senegal and is sent to Cairo unaccompanied by any family or chaperone but is cared for by the contest's organisers. His teacher in Senegal tells him he will represent all of Africa in the competition.

Nabiollah Saidoff is from Tajikistan where his school is shut down as part of a government crackdown on extremism. He cannot read or write in his native language and we see his father helping him apply to a new school so he can widen his education.

Nabiollah becomes a star of the Cairo competition, moving the judges to tears with his pure voice even though he is unschooled in the rules of Tajweed that dictate how the Quran should be properly recited.
- Iqraa International

P/s: Teringin menonton dokumentari ini.

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