Sri Lankan bags first prize at Qur’an contest

Updated 15 December 2012

Sri Lankan bags first prize at Qur’an contest

Sri Lankan Riski Mohamed Riskhan won the first prize at the 33rd King Abdul Aziz International Contest for Memorization of the Holy Qur’an, which concluded Wednesday in Makkah.
The competition, held under the auspices of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, was attended by participants from 53 countries throughout the globe. The award carried a cash proze of SR 100,000 for the first prize winner. Riskhan represented Madrasathul Ilm from the Colombo Grand Mosque.
The annual event, which promotes the memorization and recitation of the Holy Qur’an, was conducted by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowment, Call and Guidance in the Kingdom.
Riskhan, 14, is from Colombo and had undergone a Qur’an recitation course from the madrasah attached to the Colombo Grand Mosque.
Following Jumma prayers at the Colombo Grand Mosque yesterday, Riskhan recited some of the Qur’anic verses for the congregation.
“The Sri Lankan boy Riski Mohamed Riskhan has created history by winning an international Qur’an recitation contest in the Kingdom,” Consul General in Jeddah Adambawa Uthumalebbe told Arab News yesterday.
“This is the first time a Sri Lankan has won this international annual competition, beating participants from 53 countries,” said Sri Lankan Senior Minister Abdul Hameed Mohammed Fowzie, who is currently in the holy city of Makkah.
On arrival in Colombo, Mohamed Riskhan received a hero’s welcome on Wednesday for his accomplishment.
He was received at the Bandaranaike International Airport by M.K.D.S. Gunawardena, the deputy minister of Buddha sasana and religious affairs, and Mervyn Silva, minister of public relations and public affairs.
Western Province Gov. Alavi Mowlana, parliamentarian A.H.M. Azwer, Presidential Coordinator on Muslim Religious Affairs Hassan Maulana, and other Muslim dignitaries were also present.
Azwer told Arab News from Colombo that this was a unique honor not only to the Muslim community on the island but also to the entire nation. “It was fitting to note that being a member of the minority community, Mohamed Riskhan got a heroic welcome from all sections of the Sri Lankan community for his splendid performance at the international competition.”
Riskhan comes from a poor family. His father earns his livelihood working as a three-wheeler rickshaw driver, and his younger sister and mother live in a city dwelling meant for the poor.
“The contest aimed at highlighting the Kingdom’s interest in the memorization and recitation of the Holy Qur’an. The Kingdom wants to promote learning of the Holy Qur’an among the Muslim youth,” Salman bin Muhammad Al-Amri, public relations director of the contest, said in a statement. He added that out of 161 contestants from 53 countries, 87 competitors were sent by their respective governments, while 66 represented Islamic organizations in Muslim and non-Muslim countries.
The contest had 10 judges, four of whom were from the Kingdom. The other six came from Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania, Malaysia, Pakistan and Nigeria. The Kingdom spends annually more than SR 100 million for the contest without seeking any material motive, the director said.
The five topics of the contest were the memorization of full text with correct intonation, commentary and meaning of words, and memorization of 20 continuous juz (parts) with intoned recitation.
The winner of the first prize received a cash award of SR 100,000, the second SR 90,000, the third SR 80,000, the fourth SR 70,000 and the fifth SR 60,000.

Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

Updated 26 April 2018

Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

  • Total relief provided by the Kingdom since the war began now stands at about $1billion
  • Latest package announced by Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir at conference in Brussels

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the people of Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The announcement of the latest aid package was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir on April 25 at an international conference on the future of Syria and the region, held in the Belgian capital Brussels. He pointed out that the meeting comes after the suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, which killed dozens of civilians, including women and children.

“The world is facing a regime allied with terrorist militias who believe that spreading atrocities and committing crimes will bring victory to it, and that war crimes are bearing fruit,” said Al-Jubeir. “In addition to bombing civilians with explosive barrels, the policies of starvation and siege, ethnic and sectarian cleansing, and the demographic change of Syrian cities and towns, its use of chemical weapons have shocked the entire world.”

He said that the only acceptable solution to the Syrian crisis is a peaceful political resolution, and that Saudi Arabia has been working to achieve this since the crisis began, while also working with others to end the continuing human tragedy in the war-torn country.

The Kingdom has played a role in unifying the ranks of the Syrian opposition and encouraging them to speak with one voice, he added. After the Riyadh 1 Conference in 2015, Saudi Arabia hosted the Riyadh 2 conference for the Syrian opposition in November 2017, which succeeded in unifying the factions and establishing a negotiating body to take part in the rounds of talks held since then, earning praise from the United Nations.

The foreign minister also reiterated his country’s support for the efforts of the UN secretary-general’s envoy, Stephan de Mistura, to resume negotiations between all sides of the conflict.

“The Kingdom hopes that the agreements endorsed by the international resolutions on the ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to its beneficiaries will be implemented throughout Syria, regardless of their ethnic, religious, sectarian or political affiliations, and calls for the speedy release of detainees and abductees and clarifying the situation of those absent,” said Al-Jubeir. “It also renews its demand to punish individuals and institutions for war crimes and to prevent their impunity.”

He added that the worsening humanitarian crisis affecting refugees inside and outside of Syria should add to the urgency of finding a political solution and resuming the negotiating process as soon as possible.

Since the war began, the Kingdom has taken in about two and a half million Syrians and treats them like its own citizens, Al-Jubeir said, providing them with free health care, work and education. Saudi universities and schools have more than 140,000 Syrian students. He added that Saudi Arabia is also supporting and helping to care for of millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, in coordination with the governments of those countries. The humanitarian assistance provided so far totals about $1 billion.