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Indian boy chosen 'Preacher of the Nation' in UAE

Dubai, July 16 (IANS): An eight-year-old Indian boy was adjudged the "Preacher of the Nation" in an Arabic religious sermon contest in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a media report said Wednesday.

Ibrahim Shabandri, from Bhatkal in the south Indian state of Karnataka, surprised the largely Arabic-speaking audience and judges with his oratory skills and surpassed 70 contestants to clinch the coveted title, Khaleej Times reported.

The contest was held as part of the 13th annual Ramadan Forum in Dubai World Trade Centre Monday.

The forum was hosted by Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation.

Shabandri's father, Faheem Ahmed, said the award provides children with greater motivation to learn the Arabic language.

"This is a very happy moment for our family. His success is the result of a lot of hard work and commitment and we are proud of his achievement," the report quoted Ahmed as saying.

Ibrahim, a student of Quran memorisation, emerged on top among the final 12 students who were selected in the areas of religious sermon and classical poetry recitation.

The competition aimed to attract promising talents in the field of religious sermon and poetry recitation among boys within the ages of six and 11 years.