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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 November 2005, 17:44 GMT
Somali girl wins Koran recitation
Amina Abdul-Majid (Copyright: www.shabelle.net)
Amina lost her sight in factional fighting in the capital
A girl has won a Koran recitation award in Somalia for the first time.

Amina Abdul-Majid, who is 16 years old and blind, was one of 60 children who took part in the competition in the capital, Mogadishu, and won $500.

Religion Minister Omar Mohammed said she had broken the mould by winning an award which had been exclusive to boys for decades.

Amina lost her sight when she was hit by a bullet in factional fighting during Somalia's 14-year civil war.

A transitional parliament and government, sworn in last year, has failed to end the anarchy.

The competition takes place across the country during Ramadan and children have to know the entire Muslim holy book by heart as they are asked to recite different passages on demand.

Religious scholars judge the style, intonation, accuracy and grammar of the recitations.

The winner is announced on the last day of Ramadan, before the festivities of Eid al-Fitr, and is feted as a celebrity in Somali society.

Amina says she will continue her education as she would like to become a prominent Islamic scholar.

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