Qur’an reading winners proclaimed

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COTABATO CITY: Contestants from this city and Zamboanga City emerged as champions on Saturday’s 39th National Qur’an Reading Competition (NQRC) held in Quezon City, a high official said on Tuesday.

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Secretary Mehol Sadain of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) spearheaded the holding of the NQRC, as one of the NCMF’s mandate “to preserve and develop the culture, tradition, institutions, and well-being of Muslim Filipinos.”

Sadain who was on official trip last week to Istanbul, Turkey made an announcement during the event that the NCMF has received scholarship commitments for Muslim Filipinos as well as a proposed cooperation on the standardization of halal guidelines.

Sultan Masideng Salic, director of the Bureau of Muslim Cultural Affairs (BMCA-NCMF), told The Manila Times that the May 25 champions are Nu’man Pimbayabaya, male category, of Cotabato, and Nurjariza Pantao, female category, of Zamboanga.

Salic said winners in this year’s event went home with the following cash prizes: P20,000 (champion); P15,000 (second place); and P10,000 (third place).

It was also learned that Sultan Kudarat Gov. Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu also gave additional P10,000 each for the two champions.

The BMCA director also disclosed that the champions will represent the Philippines at the 2013 International Qur’an Reciters’ Assembly (IQRA) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, while the second and third placers will represent the country in other international Qur’anic events..

He said the second place (female) went to Rahna Jacaria, and third place to Suraida Ampatua, the defending champion.

For the male category, defending champion Mohammad Saudi Gandisa got second place, and third place went to Mohammad Nadir Asgar, Jr., Salic added.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd noted that every year the Islamic competition assembles followers of Islam “to reaffirm the Holy Qur’an’s spiritual and historical significance in the Philippines.”

The President wished that the event would help strengthen Philippine ties with the world Muslim community.

As this developed, Salic said some Muslim countries who are members of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation have signified their intention to support this national Qur’an reading competition being held annually under the auspices of the NCMF.

He said Kuwaiti Ambassador Waleed Ahmad Al-Kandari in particular and other diplomats from Muslim and Arab countries supported the NQRC.

Salic said the Muslim Filipinos should continue studying the Qur’an and its message.

“As a true believer in Islam, it is also incumbent upon us to learn the meaning, correct with complete recitation of the Qur’an as guidance to our daily life in this world,” the NCMF-BMCA director further said.

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