Yemeni wins religious singer award [Archives:2006/994/Local News]

October 30 2006

Nisreen Shadad
SHARJAH, Oct. 26 ) The first day of Eid became an extraordinary day for Yemeni singers as the results of the Shareja Religious Singer competition were released with Ammar Al-Azaki taking the top prize.

Upon receiving the award his pleasure couldn't make him forget to thank Allah as he asked for a minute to prostrate in thanks to Allah. Abdul Rahman Bohbela from Algeria came second and Ali Bobar from Oman came third.

Al-Azaki beat out 12 other contestants from several Arab countries to win the competition Sharjah Satellite Channel.

Al-Azaki is a recent high school graduate from Mahweet and although he is only 17 he has been religious chanting since his childhood.

“He has never received any professional training, but he was encouraged by his teachers in school especially his religion teacher Khaled Al-Wosabi,” said his mother.

During his childhood, Al-Azaki was influenced by his two sisters who were religious singers, but his father was opposed to this trend because he saw Ammar was attending to his singing practice more than his studies, as commented by his mother.

But the singing practice helped Ammar in Sharjah and to get there.

To qualify for he competition there were 3000 competitors from all the Arab countries with more than 120 from Yemen. Ammar was selected from all Yemeni participants and his family decided to send him to Sharjah for the second level of competition at the Sharja Religious Singers Festival.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Saqr Al-Qassimi, Director-General of the Sharjah Medical Zone and Sheikh Meshari Al-Efasy, a famous religious singer and the owner of Al-Efasy religious Satellite Channel, attended the festival.

The first prize was 100,000 U.A.E. Dirhams (over YR 5 million) and a contract with a recording company to produce his own album and video clip.

Directors of this program traveled to most of Arab countries to choose the participants for the Sharjah Religious Singer Festival. They select thirteen contestants from 3000 candidates. They were Mohamed Riyadh from Iraq, Badr Al-Harethi from Oman, Bandar Ashour from Saudi Arabia, Mo'tasim Billah and Adnan Al-Hallaq from Syria, Salem Al-Toraifi from Sharjah, Ahmed Fathi and Taher Wajdi from Egypt, Mohammed Zaki from Jordon, in addition to winners of the first three places.

“The festival aimed to present the religious songs in the proper way. The 13 religious singers were prepared to revive the religious songs that can be an alternative of the meaningless songs of nowadays.” said the festival's presenter Mohammad Khalaf.

An committee consisting of three famous religious singers in the Arab world was formed to select the title winner: Mohammed Sermeni (Abu Al-Jod), Mohammed Mustafa (Abu Ratib) and Ahmed bu Khater. And the audience from all around the world voted via SMS texts. The competition began in the first week of Ramadan and continued until Eid day. Contestants received training during Ramadan to be able to sharpen their talents and to present at their best. Two religious singers every week had to leave the competition until there were only five contestants on the final day. Ammar Al-Azaki sang first. Then Abdul Rahman Bohbela sang, Mo'tasim Billah, Adnan Al-Hallaq and lastly Ali Bubar. After that each judge sang.

All the judges songs centered around one theme: The importance of religious singers in promoting the true message of Islam. Abu Al-Jud sang about the corruption of media and the status of Muslims. In his song he assured Muslims the only way to hoist Islam's flag is to implement Islamic principles. Abu Khater as well called religious singers to spread right and constructive thoughts and Abu Ratib sang a special song of farewell to all singers whom he loved for the sake of Allah. He said they might depart physically, but the love for Allah established a strong bond among them so they will never depart in heart. Al-Efasy concluded the festival with two religious songs.