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Daghestani Teenager Wins International Koran-Reading Competition

A 14-year-old boy from Daghestan, Bilyal Abdulkhalikov, has won an international Koran-recital competition held in Bahrain.

Abdulkhalikov, from the village of Novy Kostek, began learning the Koran when he was 7 and had memorized it in full by the time he was 11.

Out of 48 participants from 43 countries, with competitors aged from 10 to 30, Abdulkhalikov took the prize for Russia.

"We were expecting to be among the top 10 finalists," his father said.

"I want him to be a good alim and master the Arabic language, and we plan to enroll him in a good Islamic university," he added.

Abdulkhalikov is no stranger to competition, having already won Moscow's international Koran-recitation competition earlier this year, along with several other regional competitions.

-- Dan Wisniewski

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