Best Pinoy Qur?an readers honored

Bangon defeated the defending champion, Mayor Raida Bansil Maglangit of Kapatagan, who won fourth place in last year’s International Qur’an Reading Competition (IQRC) in Kuala Lumpur.

Twenty-four male and female contestants battled for the title with representatives from Luzon, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Northern Mindanao, Davao, Socsargen, Cotabato and Lanao.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sent a message saying the activity is in the light of “government’s commitment to preserve, promote and enhance our country’s Islamic heritage.”

Vice President Noli de Castro said, “Islam is integral and essential part of our national identity. And for more than three decades now, this annual Qur’an reading competition has become a way to promote awareness, inspire interest, and provide enlightenment on the richness of Islam.”

National organizer Sultan Jerry Yahya Tomawis, executive director of the Office of Muslim Affairs, traced the beginnings of the NQRC to 1976 in Davao City, organized by the now-defunct Southern Philippines Development Authority. The OMA has since 1977, as the Ministry of Muslim Affairs, convened the yearly event through the Bureau of Muslim Cultural Affairs.

Lanao del Sur Gov. Aleem Bashier Manalao, himself an awarded Qur’an reader, said the activity promotes knowledge.

Marawi Mayor Omar Ali said the reading of the Holy Qur’an provides blessings not only to the reader but also the listeners as he is able to hear the revelation.

MSU President Ricardo de Leon gave a solidarity message saying the Qur’an “holds the manifesto that all men have the same origins. Therefore we must know each other instead of outdoing one another… The reading of God’s word must transcend to divine understanding so as we can be agents of harmony within diversity.”

The champions will be sent to the International Qur’an Reading Competition in Kuala Lumpur within the year. The second prize winner will be sent to Iran.

The Philippines has produced more than five IQRC winners starting in 1976 with Prof. Hassan Noor winning the 17th IQRC in Tripoli, Libya.