A Palestine national finished second out of the 24 participants that took part in the President Yahya Jammeh International Award for Quranic Memorisation competition held in The Gambia.
The competition, part of activities celebrating 22 years of the July 22nd Revolution, was won by Ousman Jallow of The Gambia. Jallow received a cash prize of US$20, 000, Mohammed S.S. Mitwali, the Palestine national who finished second returned home US$19, 000 richer. Anwer Ben Mohammad Ben Slama from Tunisia finished third and received US$18, 000, while Mahamat Bello Amada from Niger and Osman Najdeh from Lebanon finished joint fourth and each went home with US$3000. All the other participants received US$3000 each.
The competition, hatched and sponsored by President Jammeh saw organisers inviting people from all over the world to participate in the event which was held from the 25th to the 26th of July 2016. It was contested by participants from Africa, Middle East, and Asia.
Dr Omar Jah jnr, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of The Gambia said a Quranic memorisation competition of this magnitude has never taken place before in black Africa. “We are very happy that such a thing is sponsored and supported by His Excellency the President. We ask Allah to guide and protect the country, his government, himself and the globe,” he said, while moderating the award dinner at the State House in Banjul on Wednesday night.
Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Halit Eren, Director General of the Research Centre for Islamic History, Arts and Culture of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (IRCICA) said: “It is a great pleasure and honour to address this gathering in this prestigious and auspicious occasion tonight. It is indeed rewarding to be in the service of Allah and his words which are contained in the Holy Quran.
It is remarkable also in this very short time the competition was organised in a large scale event with participants coming from all over the Muslim world. I believe Allah SAW allowed this success as a reward for the efforts employed here in the service of the Holy Quran.
This competition, concretising an outstanding initiative of President Jammeh is truly an example to the region. May Allah bless his country, the region and may Allah always lead his efforts to success.”
He said that IRCICA gives great importance to study of the Holy Quran within the framework of its activities, noting that the organisation has a long-term and multi-dimensional programme of studies on the Holy Quran. He added that his centre is honoured to have partnered in the organisation of the President Yahya Jammeh International Award for Quranic Memorisation Competition.
“We are very grateful to the President of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia for involving IRCICA in preparation of the Holy Quran memorisation competition. We say a heartfelt thanks to you for this wonderful insight,” he concluded, but not without expressing sincere thanks and appreciation to the Minister of Religious Affairs of The Gambia, Associate Professor Abubacarr Senghore and all those who made the activity possible.
For his part, Professor Senghore, who doubles as the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, expressed gratitude to President Jammeh for initiating the competition. He equally thanked the local organising committee, the participants, Judges and the national broadcaster, The Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) for their support and efforts in making the event a success.
“Speaking for the Muslim Ummah in general and for The Gambia in particular, we are grateful to Allah for blessing us with Islam, making us Muslims and for also blessing The Gambia with a leader who has a very strong faith in Allah. For the first time ever in our history as Muslims in this part of the continent we have a political leader who puts Islam on top of his agenda. From 1994 to date a lot has happened for the cause of Islam,” the Religious Affairs Minister acknowledged.
According to him, from 1994 to date there has been enhanced collaboration of Quranic memorisation centres and schools in The Gambia. “You used your resources, your authority, energy and your influences to advance the cause of Islam, May God bless you; and thank you, Your Excellency. Today, in this country every corner you go you find Quranic memorisation centres,” he said.
Dr Zakir Naik, an Islamic preacher and the founder and President of the Islamic Research Foundation who also graced the competition and award ceremony spoke positively of such an initiative by President Jammeh.
Twenty four countries namely; Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cameron, Chad, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Senegal, Somalia, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Yemen, Benin, Qatar, and The Gambia participated in the competition. The competition was adjudicated by experts from Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Senegal, Morocco, Algeria and The Gambia.
by Musa Ndow