RIYADH: Palestinian-American contestant Yasser Omar Shaheen, a Hollywood film and television scriptwriter, was a participant in the latest episode of the international Qur’an recitation and adhan competition.
Shaheen entertained the viewers with his melodic voice and distinctive recitation of the Qur’an.
The “Otr Elkalam” TV show, which is being supervised by the General Entertainment Authority and is broadcast on MBC1 and the Shahid digital platform, has a total prize pool of SR12 million ($3.2 million).
Shaheen said: “My life is a mixture of memorizing and reciting the Holy Qur’an and writing scripts in Hollywood, where I have supervised the production of more than 130 programs, produced 14 documentaries, and contributed to several shows on TV channels of Arab and Islamic countries.”
He enjoys teaching Muslim children the verses of the Qur’an and the rules of intonation in mosques in Dallas, Texas. Shaheen also works as a faculty member at San Jose University in California.
Several competitions resulted in his participation in “Otr Elkalam” and its first episode featured 32 contestants from around the world.
It also focused on last year’s winners of the Qur’an recitation and adhan competitions, Younes Gharbi from Morocco and Mohsen Kara of Turkiye, respectively.
The “Otr Elkalam” competition is designed to highlight the rich diversity of cultures in the Islamic world, and the vocal methods of reciting the Qur’an and raising the call to prayer.
More than 50,000 entrants from 165 countries were whittled down to 50 for the final stage, which is held in Riyadh.
Another selection process by the main jury then left 32 contestants, 16 for each competition.