July 5, 2018

Ahmed Burhan Mohamed, a Minnesotan teenager, "has become an overnight sensation in the Muslim world and a local celebrity after winning a prestigious international contest last month recognizing the best reciter of the Qur’an."

The Star Tribune reports.
During the grueling two-week competition, Mohamed was tested on proper pronunciation, voice and style as he recited from memory random verses from the whole Qur’an — not an easy feat, considering the Qur’an has more than 6,000 verses and spans 604 pages....

His triumph shocked members of the local Somali community, who have long doubted that a youth raised in Minnesota could compete with those raised in Muslim countries.

Mohamet “Hambaase” Ali, the former principal of the Islamic school at Abubakar As-Saddique mosque in Minneapolis where Ahmed trained, said Somali parents often dispatch their kids to Africa for what’s known as “dhaqan celis,” meaning to “rehabilitate kids,” so they are better accustomed to their culture and religion.

Most families, he said, are wary of their kids growing up in the West and losing their identity, which parents say makes youth vulnerable to all kinds of problems. But Ali believes that children can simultaneously maintain their American identity and meet cultural and religious expectations....

“I feel really proud to be the first American to win this,” Mohamed said. “They fear us now. They now know that we Americans are tough in Qur’an.”... 
Ahmed Burhan Mohamed plans to go to the University of Minnesota and study to become a doctor.

57 comments:

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Good for him. Imagine some kid being publicly celebrated for Bible knowledge.

etienne said...

90% of medical school is memorizing minutia.

People who emigrate are best served when they give up the shit-hole culture they left.

Anonymous said...

Allahu Ackbar

chickelit said...

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...”Good for him. Imagine some kid being publicly celebrated for Bible knowledge.”

American women like Joy Behar want to suck up this kid with a straw. I agree it’s complex.

narayanan said...

"Bones " had a Muslim examiner who took prayer breaks in the middle of procedures.
good thing the people were already dead.

Wonder if this kid will be willing to work with living or dead - or both men and women.

Ray - SoCal said...

He got a $500K prize - congrats to him.

I wonder which Arabic accent is considered correct, why, and the history of that accent.

tim maguire said...

Ahmed Burhan Mohamed plans to go to the University of Minnesota and study to become a doctor.

Best line in the article. Up to that point, I was thinking, "great, another talented mind squandered on memorization tricks."

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Maybe him and Clock Boy could do the Danny and Rueven thing on reality TV. Trump could moderate.

Fernandinande said...

If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with, uh, er, "baffle them with reciting", that's the inoffensive ticket!

Fernandinande said...

A Chinese guy recited 67,890 digits of the koran.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

My instinctive anti-Muzzie snark aside, I find it hopeful that this kid so clearly sees being an American as a big part of his identity. What kind of an American remains to be seen....

Bill R said...

Re: "Somali parents often dispatch their kids to Africa"

Aren't these people supposed to be "refugees". Don't they face instant death if they set a single toe in Africa?

Michael K said...

It's not 90% but a lot of medicine is not only memorizing but being able to recall, which requires an organization of thought. This used to be taught in Clinical Pathological Conferences and the concept of differential diagnosis.

The last 15 years, medical school has gotten very feminized and feelings are getting a lot more important than logic.

I was one of the last to emphasize the old traditional stuff and the students seemed to like that.

YoungHegelian said...

Wasn't that long ago that many a Christian memorized the whole New Testament. Doing the entire Bible was rarer, but done nevertheless by the hard-core.

I wonder if they teach these Somali kids classical Koranic Arabic, so that they can understand what they are memorizing, or do they just have them memorize the verses phonetically? Phonetic memorization is sadly all too common in the Muslim world.

Birches said...

Probably less radicalism if the kids stay in the US to study.

MikeR said...

Good for him. I think I would like to read about this kid's views on various topics of popular interest. He would be a good random sample of American Muslims.
What does he think of female infant genital mutilation?
What does he think should be the response to Muslim apostates?
What does he think should be the response to homosexuals?
What does he think about the right of Israel to exist?
What does he think about the idea that Jews were behind 9-11?
What _exactly_ does he think of Osama bin Ladin?
I have a guess on how he would answer these questions, but I don't think the Star Trib would want to know about it.

Sebastian said...

“They fear us now."

Huh. More likely, they know they've got us, now that we have been successfully infiltrated.

By "refugees," and such.

I wonder what Koranic verse fits this:

"Two Minnesota women who claimed they were helping the poor in Somalia were convicted Thursday of conspiring to funnel money to a terrorist group as part of what prosecutors called a 'deadly pipeline' sending funds and fighters to al-Shabab.

After the verdicts, one of the women, Amina Farah Ali, told the judge through an interpreter that she was happy because she was 'going to heaven no matter what', and condemned those in authority, saying 'You will go to hell'."

Rick.T. said...

It appears that the dogma lives loudly within him. Apparently good for Muslim school kids but not so much for potential Supreme Court justices.

hiawatha biscayne said...

Minnesota - largest Somali "community" outside of Mogadishu. And they love them some FGM. So I'm baffled, because I can't seem to recall one arrest, much less prosecution, in Minnesota, for FGM. And the Star Trombone is, of course, uninterested in digging around.

Michael said...

I have met at least one Muslim who claimed his son had memorized the Koran. Good for this kid.

Nonapod said...

But can he recite all the hadith?

rhhardin said...

Memorizing Adam Smith would do him better.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ahmed Burhan Mohamed... has become an overnight sensation...after winning a prestigious international contest last month recognizing the best reciter of the Qur’an.

First prize is a brand new vest. Unfortunately, it is good for one use only...

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Excellent. So in the heart of eeeeeeevil America a Muslim is free to pursue his passion and does it better than the guys sweating in tents across the Arab world. This will do more to harm ISIS than anything Obama did for 8 years.

etienne said...

I bet his mother was circumcised.

Gretchen said...

Bill R:

Exactly right.

Francisco D said...

"90% of medical school is memorizing minutia.

A lot of grad school (particularly when it comes to licensing exams) is about memorizing minutia. Luckily, I was in grad school long ago when you learned how to think and act like a social scientist. Today it is more about being a social justice warrior.

MadisonMan said...

This is a great story. Kudos for his abilities.

A lot of grad school (particularly when it comes to licensing exams) is about memorizing minutia.

I have always maintained that a BS means you know some stuff about a whole width of topics, an MS means you know a whole lot about very little, and a PhD means you know absolutely everything about nothing at all.

William said...

Americans are criticized for the rootlessness of our culture, but that's a feature not a bug. We're not attached to the old ways, and there are worse prejudices in the old countries than any found on our shores. Our Germans were, for example, much better than Germany's Germans, especially during the 20th century and WWII. I think the same can be said for most other ethnic groups. You leave a lot of baggage behind when you clear Customs.......Apparently you can't say this about immigrants from any third world country. Their quaint customs can only serve to enliven and enlighten America.

Rob said...

I can recite lengthy passages from Portnoy’s Complaint. Where’s my prize?

Ann Althouse said...

Just remembered I have a "memorization" tag and added it.

I think memorization is undervalued in America, but what should a kid memorize and how much time should he devote to that? Memorizing your religion's sacred text seems like a good choice. I memorized many Bible verses when I was young, because it was one of the things you were expected to do in Sunday school. As an adult, I memorized the Sermon on the Mount.

I think the contest here is similar to the Spelling Bee. You're amazed at the kids who really excel, and they're doing it largely for competition purposes. With a scriptural text, maybe you think God will reward you too.

Anyway, I liked that the Minnesota kid won and set an example for being strong in his religion while living in and enjoying the benefits of the pluralistic culture of America. There are many people who think religion works best when everyone has the same religion, and I like to see evidence that diversity works. Some people may think religion will die out if people are not compelled. American is a great example of religion prospering through religious freedom.

It's so important to preserve this tradition, and I put up this post with the idea that your response to this young man would be helpful

mccullough said...

Would be better if he memorized The Satanic Verses

mccullough said...

Religion is diminishing in the US. The result of a pluralist society is that you realize that all cultures are bullshit. This kid is Muslim because his mom is Muslim. His mom is Muslim because she grew up in Somalia. Somalia is Muslim because the Muslims conquered it.

Religions evolved in certain places in certain times. The liberal humanism in the US is no better than the rest. Just more bullshit. Best not to think too much on this stuff. Better to memorize sports stats than religious texts. They are more impressive.

Matt said...

Revolting.

'Talent' like that belongs somewhere else, like, say, oh I don't know, Somalia.

Call me whatever -phobe or -ist you like. Send that shit back where it came from. And send the people back, too. Don't they need doctors back there, anyway?

Islam has zero to contribute to the advancement of humanity.

etienne said...

I memorized the lyrics to Tiptoe Through the Tulips

PM said...

That's some serious, well-directed effort in a time of tremendous electronic distraction. Should make a fine doctor, or anything he wants to be.

Curious George said...

"But Ali believes that children can simultaneously maintain their American identity and meet cultural and religious expectations...."

Ali is wrong.

Drago said...

Hopefully we will have more qualified doctors to perform the coming mandatory Female Genital Mutilation procedures.

MadisonMan said...

American Exceptionalism on display.

Vance said...

You know, Islam does have the seeds of a beautiful faith in there. Muhammad's earlier days were a great set of teachings that if applied would be far better than secular humanism.

It's when Mohammed fled to Medina that it became dark and evil and monstrous. Most of the "Kill infidel and go to heaven" and the slaughtering Jews thing came from Mohammed's Medina period.

My own personal feelings? Mohammed was inspired by the real God at first.... but then changed dieties, so to speak, and started worshipping Old Scratch, as we call him.

Anyway, good for this kid to memorize it. Hopefully he can understand it... and reject much of the Koran while embracing other parts.

Violent parts of your text don't have to lead to violent faiths. Take Mormons, for example--the Book of Mormon is literally filled with war, conflict, and fighting. Some of the greatest heroes in the book were generals. Mormons are some of the most pacifist people around... but that's via choice and commandment, not because they don't have scriptural support if needed to become a military people. I wish Islam would do the same.

Ann Althouse said...

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it."

Sebastian said...

"set an example for being strong in his religion"

So people don't believe what they profess to believe (weak!), except Muslims who memorize the Koran (strong!)?

Did you mean to imply that he set a good example?

If so, is being strong in one's religion exemplary, and worthy of emulation, regardless of the content of the religion?

MikeD said...

Will he be attending University before or after he's sent to Somalia to be rehabilitated by Al-Shahab. BTW, said group has also banned straws & plastic stirrers.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Neat. Now do an article on the vicious beatings and other abuse routinely doled out to small kids by their loving tutors when they fail to memorize or recite passages correctly.

Google that shit. Look for "hafiz beating" or something similar.
Does...does that happen to kids who're studying for the spelling bee, too?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Oh, nevermind: nuns rapped knuckles with rulers so routine beatings are just a natural part of all religious education and only racist islamophobes believe otherwise. All cultures are equally valid and it's just nice to see diversity working out so well.
Plus, you know, the crusades.
Sorry for my initial ugly post.

Michael K said...

"but what should a kid memorize and how much time should he devote to that?"

Times tables for a start,

Jupiter said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...

"It's so important to preserve this tradition..."

Why, exactly?

mikee said...

Recitation was necessary for illiterate tribesmen.
Having a copy of the book did them no good.
Much better to have a trained person who could quote you some good old time religion.

Rosalyn C. said...

Does he want to see sharia eventually replace the US Constitution as the law of the land? How does he reconcile the Qur'an, which exhorts Muslims to bring the world to Islam and a whole host of other things, with our Constitution that separates church and state, etc.? Are we supposed to believe he just memorized the Qur'an, he doesn't really believe it??

mikeski said...

Ann Althouse said...
Just remembered I have a "memorization" tag and added it.


Don't care who y'are, that's funny.

etienne said...

My high school math teacher had us memorize the trig identities. Each time he gave us one, we would fill out a 3x5 card and add it to our growing stack.

I never gave much thought to flash cards, but after that, all through college, I was making flash cards of stuff I needed to have instant retrieval on, and help me memorize.

There was a girl in class who didn't have to make cards. Her memory was so powerful she didn't have to waste her time with that.

I was jealous, but I had to work with my handicap :-)

etienne said...

"Those who lose their life for my sake will find it."

Whereby the Crusades became a fantastic idea! (All 15 of them...)

Gospace said...

He might become a doctor. But he won't be my doctor.

Rosalyn C. said...

"Oh those terrible Crusades," we always hear whenever anyone mentions jihad and Islamic supremacism. Bill Warner, PhD, made a terrific video "Jihad vs Crusades" to put the Crusades into perspective. Comes down to 548 Islamic battles of conquest vs 15 Crusader battles to recapture.

The Crusades are seen in the West as a part of medieval history, iow, they are over. However the jihad is still with us now and into the future because the so called "lesser jihad" is based in the Qur'an which is so dear to Muslims.

Big Mike said...

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! Ain’t nuthin’ we cain’t beat the rest of the world at.

‘Cept soccer.

Ken B said...

Althouse quotes Jesus in, I think, a response to criticism of Islam. Tu quoque. Never the best defense. And of course only for Christians.
It's an unthinking response, even though she took the time to get the whole passage and doubtless believes it a pertinent rejoinder. It's unthinking because it’s a twitch: an imagined standing up for the underdog, a proof of tolerance. Exempting ideas from criticism because doing so warms your cockles is unthinking, and indeed anti-thinking.

Gahrie said...

Given the state of Somalia, shouldn't he return to his homeland and try to improve things there? You know so they don't all have an excuse to come here.