Norway’s (Muslims) got talent

This story raised my eyebrows when I saw it, but got relatively little coverage. It certainly seems to be the first time anything like it is happening in Norway, but maybe the ‘M-Factor’ is standard fare in other countries? Either way, you’d think this would have gotten more attention.

The Aftenposten report featured a photo of a panel of judges and a tiny 10-year-old girl that echoed the usual reality-TV entertainment contest, but the version going on in Oslo was also a world apart. The competition is linked to the first ever Nasheed concert in Norway.

Nasheed, the recitation of religious texts, has a wide variety of stylistic interpretations, from strict voice-only to modern treatments that sound like mainstream music. The big occasion is a 14th February concert where the headliners will be Shaam, and the Norwegian talent contest winner will also perform.

So roughly 30 hopefuls turned up, performing solo or in harmony, trying to gain the coveted spot. Why was this method chosen? “To create motivation; there are a lot of hidden talents we don’t know about. Many are also modest and cautious – this is an attempt to promote then and promote the Nasheed concert at the same time,” said Arshad Jamil, who dreamed up the contest.

The competition will be covered on www.nasheedkonsert.no and the site also has more background about the entire event. Here’s a big hit from the headliners who have a big international following and are apparently an inspiration for the modern interpretation of the genre:

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