Turkish muezzins win Saudi adhan recitation contest
he mellifluous voices of Muhsin Kara and Alpcan Çelik, two Turkish muezzins, earned the top titles in an adhan recitation contest and a huge monetary prize. Kara and Çelik, who work at mosques run by the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), were the winners of the Otr Elkalam contest in Saudi Arabia.
Televised live on Saudi state TV earlier this week, the contest, whose title roughly translates to “Scent of Speech,” brought together Muslim faithful from around the globe for a competition to pick the best recitation of the Islamic call to prayer, as well as the holy book Quran. Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority organizes the contest. General Entertainment Authority Chair Turki Al-Sheikh presented the awards to the winners at a ceremony on Wednesday evening. Kara won first place and received 2 million riyals ($533,200), while Çelik won second place and received 1 million riyals ($266,600). A Moroccan and a British contestant won the first and second places in the Quran recitation contest.
Diyanet President Ali Erbaş sent congratulations to Kara, who serves as an imam in Şarkışla, a town in the central province of Sivas and Çelik, who serves as an imam in Istanbul’s Sarıyer district.
Sivas Governor Salih Ayhan hosted Muhsin Kara on Thursday and thanked him on behalf of the people of Sivas for his “proud representation” of Turkey, praising the adhan he recited.
Kara said he did not have high hopes when he applied to the contest in Saudi Arabia after seeing an ad on social media. “I did not think I would qualify for the final round. I was invited earlier, but the pandemic led to a postponement. I had almost forgotten about it two years later. I got a new invitation two months ago and decided to compete. I am happy to be a winner in the first international contest of its kind (for adhan and Quran recitation),” Kara told reporters on the sidelines of his meeting with the governor. The young imam has already won several titles in Quran recitation contests held in Turkey, and he was among the finalists of a competition held by public broadcaster TRT in 2017. With the money he won from competitions, Kara funded a trip to Egypt where he advanced his “maqam” education (a melodic mode exclusive to different types of adhan recited five times a day).