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RIYADH: Abdullah Al-Dughri from Morocco and Hamid Al-Raisi from the UAE were the last two competitors to qualify for the semifinals of the international Qur’an recitation and adhan (call to prayer) competition.

Sixteen participants from 13 countries have now qualified for the competition’s semifinals, aired on the “Otr Elkalam” TV show.

The show, supervised by the General Entertainment Authority, and broadcast on MBC1 and the Shahid digital platform, has a total prize pool of SR12 million ($3.2 million).

The competition is designed to highlight the diversity of cultures in the Islamic world, and the vocal methods of reciting the Qur’an and raising the call to prayer.

Semifinal qualifiers are from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Yemen, the UK, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Germany and Spain.

The semifinals in Qur’an recitation kicked off on Saturday with the participation of Mohammed Nour from Ethiopia, Salah Edin Metebid from Germany, Ahmad Alsayyed Ismail from Egypt, Abdulaziz Al-Faqih from Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Al-Dughri and Zakariya Al-Zirk from Morocco, Yunis Shahmaradi from Iran, and Mohammad Al-Habti from Spain.

The adan category will see the participation of Mohammed Hafez Al-Rahman and Ibrahim Assad from the UK, Issa Al-Jaadi from Yemen, Mohammed Al-Sharif from Saudi Arabia, Hamid Al-Raisi from the UAE, Rahif Al-Hajj from Lebanon, Dialdin from Indonesia, and Riyan Hosawi from Nigeria.

More than 50,000 entrants from 165 countries were whittled down to just 50 for the finals, held in Riyadh.

A jury of five members specialized in the Qur’an, maqams and vocal pitches evaluated contestants during the competition.

The jury consists of Sheikh Ahmed Nahas, the muezzin of the Grand Mosque in Makkah; Sheikh Mishari bin Rashed Al-Afasy, a reciter and imam of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait; Abdul Rahim Nabulsi, secretary-general of Reciters and Teaching Recitation in Morocco; Bahloul Saeed Abu Arqoub, an expert in maqamat and a judge in international Qur’anic competitions from Libya; and Sheikh Ahmed Mansour, leading reciter of the Al-Azhar Mosque in Egypt.

In addition to the main jury, Sheikh Adil Al-Kalbani, former imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, will serve as general supervisor of the competition, and Fahad Al-Andas, an imam and preacher at the King Faisal Air Academy for 27 years, will be the secretary-general of the competition.

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