Holy Qur'an Contest in Egypt

Egypt's Qur'an Contest

August 4, 2011 - Egypt's annual Koran memorization competition will begin August 19, during the holy month of Ramadan. This annual competition, held in Cairo, is the oldest and arguably most prestigious of this memorization competition. Egypt invites over one hundred students from over seventy countries to compete, many of them are kids as young as seven and do not understand or speak Arabic, the language of the Koran. The competition takes place over two weeks where students compete until the early hours of the morning while continuing to fast.

Documentary film maker, Greg Barker, followed three 10-year-old students from Maldives, Tajikistan and Senegal, during the competition in 2010. In his HBO documentary, "Koran by Heart," Mr. Barker chronicles the lives of these students and their families as they prepare and participate in the competition where they must recite passages from the 600-page Holy Qur'an from memory.

"Koran by Heart" debuted on HBO on August 1, the first day of Ramadan this year.