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Turkey's 'American Idol' of Quran recitation backfires

An attempt to spread Ramadan cheer backfires as Turkey's Islamists are not happy with a controversial TV show involving competition to recitate the Quran.

Each year the month of Ramadan arrives in Turkey with the special flatbread (pide) and increased competition among TV channels for popular Ramadan shows. This year, however, a new Ramadan show where men compete in reciting the Quran has generated strong opposition from Islamist groups.

At the end of March, the program sought competitors known as hafiz — those who are studying the recitation and memorization of the Quran. The requirements were to be a male older than 15. Whether or not female candidates should be allowed to compete was only questioned by secular groups.

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