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110 kids from the Islamic world are chosen and arrive in Cairo for the world's oldest Koran reciting contest. KORAN BY HEART follows two boys from Senegal and Tajikistan, and a little girl from Maldives - who go head-to-head with kids nearly twice their age in the pronunciation, recitation and perfected memorization of the Qur'an. Even as their own future hangs in the balance, they are caught between fundamentalist and moderate visions of Islam.Written by
Nothing gets the blood flowing (sometimes quite literally) like a good old-fashioned competition. In the United States, school kiddies reach for the brass ring via spelling bees, team sports, debate tournaments, and a whole host of other academic tilts (Model U.N, anyone?). Overseas, the competitive spirit is also hale and hearty, but channeled in different directions: in the Muslim world, for example, children learn to recite the Islamic holy book by heart and have the opportunity to show off their skills at a Qu'ran reciting joust held annually in Cairo. This excellent HBO original documentary follows the exploits of three gifted ten-year olds (one each from the Maldives, Senegal, and Tajikistan) who have their eyes on the big Cairo prize: an all expenses paid trip to Disneyland! No, I'm kidding - they actually just get a plaque. It's probably only a matter of time until an uber-competitive American Muslim gets the fever for Qu'ran recitation and brings the prize home to the good ol' U.S. of A., at which point we'll probably start seeing the contest broadcast on ESPN 3 in between Texas Hold 'Em tournaments and the X Games.
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