Saudi Arabia launches Quran recitation and Adhan competitions for Muslims around the world

Two competitions calling for the “most beautiful and influential voices” from around the world to recite the Quran and perform Adhan have been officially opened by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Entertainment. (Supplied)
Updated 22 May 2019

Saudi Arabia launches Quran recitation and Adhan competitions for Muslims around the world

LONDON: Two competitions calling for the “most beautiful and influential voices” from around the world to recite the Quran and perform Adhan have been officially opened by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Entertainment, according to a tweet from its chairman Turki Al-Sheikh.

According to a statement on the competition's website, the Quran and Adhan Awards “aim to to provide a rich Islamic experience to the world by highlighting the diversity of the cultures of the Islamic world, which is reflected in the different methods of reciting the Quran and raising the Adhan.”
Organizers of the competitions also hope to encourage a better understanding of the Quran and its recitations among Muslim youth, as well as promoting the nature of Islam which “rejects extremism and intolerance in all its forms.”
Applications for both competitions opened on May 22 and will close on June 22. Filtering of applications will take place until August 22, with live performances taking place throughout August and September and the winners declared in October. Registration is open here.
The competition is part of a packed schedule in 2019. The GEA has launched an ambitious program of events planned on a scale never before seen in the Kingdom in the throughout the year, with traditional and culturally significant local events featuring prominently in the plans.
In January, the GEA chairman Turki Al-Sheikh said: “Competitions are an important element of entertainment, the most important will take place during Ramadan and will be of an Islamic nature, with the supervision of Islamic scholars.
“The first competition will be for the most beautiful reciting of the Holy Qur’an, and competitors from all over the world are invited. The first prize will be SR 5 million.
“The second Islamic competition is for the athan (call for prayer). In addition to receiving a large prize of SR 2 million, the winner of the first prize can also look forward to raising the athan in the Prophet’s Holy mosque,” he added.

 


US Secretary of Defense Esper meets King Salman, asks NATO to protect Saudi Arabia from Iran

King Salman receives US Secretary of Defense. (SPA)
Updated 22 October 2019

US Secretary of Defense Esper meets King Salman, asks NATO to protect Saudi Arabia from Iran

  • The meeting with King Salman tackled joint security and defense issues
  • Esper will urge allies to contribute more to the defense of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region to counter Iran’s threats

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman received US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in his office on Tuesday to discuss strategic cooperation between Riyadh and Washington, state news agency SPA reported.
“Today, I discussed the deployment of US forces and equipment to #SaudiArabia with @KingSalman,” Esper tweeted following the meeting. 

The meeting, where top officials from both countries were also present, also tackled joint security and defense issues and the situation in the region.
“We agree with the need to take a firm defensive stance in the region to deter Iranian malign behavior and promote stability,” he added.
Esper then met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to review bilateral relations, particularly in the military and defense sectors, as well as a number of issues of mutual interest and regional and international developments.
The US defense secretary arrived in the Kingdom a day earlier on an unannounced visit, with tensions simmering between Washington and Tehran, and Russia seeking to boost its influence in the Middle East.
US-Iran tensions have risen to new highs since May 2018, when the Trump administration withdrew from an international accord that put limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions.
As reinstated sanctions put pressure on Iran’s economy, there have been a series of attacks which Washington and close allies blame on Tehran. Iran denies responsibility.
Also on Tuesday, the US defense secretary visited the Prince Sultan Air Base, where he met with troops and assessed the capabilities that the US has deployed to the region to help defend Saudi Arabia, deter Iran and prevent conflict.

Esper got a look at one of the Patriot batteries as he toured the military base.

Esper said he will urge allies later this week to contribute more to the defense of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region to counter threats from Iran.
The plan is part of a broader US effort to get NATO allies to take on more responsibility for Gulf security. That has included US pleas for nations to send ships, aircraft and air defense systems to the region.
The US has already agreed to send three Patriot missile batteries, dozens of fighter jets and other aircraft to Saudi Arabia. 
He says the Saudis will “help underwrite” some of the US costs for the additional aid, which includes about 3,000 American troops.