SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Agency) – The fifth international Quran Contest for Muslim Students started in the Iranian capital, Tehran on 1st of January 2015.
The ceremony was attended by high-ranking Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, as well as Quranic figures and foreign dignitaries.
It began at the conference hall of Tehran’s Milad Tower with recitation of verses from the Quran by Majid Faqih, winner of the recitation category in the previous edition of the competition.
It was followed by a speech delivered by Hamid Reza Tayyebi, head of the Iranian Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research, who said the competition aims to enhance Muslim unity, promote learning the Quran and get Muslim students acquainted with the Quranic activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
President Rouhani also addressed the opening program, stressing the importance of having strong connection with the Quran, especially among the youth and university students.
The international competition will run for four days and the 66 participants from 47 countries vie for the top prizes in the categories of memorization and recitation categories.
Head of the Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research (ACECR) described the International Quran Competition for Muslim Students as an effort to promote the Quran among university students and elites.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of the 5th edition of the competition, Hamid Reza Tayyebi added that as the Quran shows the path towards salvation, efforts should be made to foster the concepts of the Holy Book.
He noted that the competition is a move in that direction.
Tayyebi said developing interdisciplinary Quranic studies among university students, enhancing Islamic unity, and introducing the progresses made by the Islamic Republic of Iran are among other objectives of the international event.
He further stressed that since its establishment, the ACECR has had Quranic activities on its agenda.
According to Tayyebi, as part of these activities, the center has organized the international Quran competition every two years since 2006.
He appreciated the efforts of all the organizations and bodies that have cooperated in making preparation for the 5th edition of the contest, including the Municipality of Tehran, Islamic Culture and Relations Organization, Iranian Academics’ Quranic Activities Organization, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Elsewhere in the press conference, Mehdi Feiz, the ACECR’s cultural deputy, underlined the importance attached to the research section in this edition of the Quran competition.
He added that this edition’s activities center on the theme of unity, especially given that the contest is held concurrent with the unity week.
Feiz also said that two seminars will be held on the sidelines of the competition this year, one discussing Islamic unity and the other featuring interdisciplinary Quranic studies.
There will also be Quran recitation sessions and two workshops for the public, he went on to say.
Representatives of more than 50 countries will compete in different categories of the competition, which will run for four days.
A South African Qari described the participation of young students from around the Muslim world in the 5th International Holy Quran for Muslim Students as a manifestation of Islamic unity.
Mohammed Ghaed David told IQNA that the contest is also a great opportunity for the contestants to show the peace-loving nature of the Muslim Ummah to the world.
The 15-year-old Quran reciter added that the participants should say to the world that Muslim youths are united against terrorism and violence.
David further said he started learning the Quran at the age of 6, noting that his grandfather who is a prominent Quran reciter in South Africa helped him in learning Quran recitation.
He said this is the first time he takes part in an international Quran competition and that it is a great experience for him.
Asked about Quranic activities in South Africa, he said there are many Quranic centers in his country, adding that the 9 million Muslims of the country eagerly take part in Quranic programs.
The 5th International Holy Quran Competition for Muslim Students is underway in Tehran with the participation of representatives of 47 countries.