Posted to Religious Diversity News on June 24, 2010
Source: The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. has “American Idol.” Britain has “The X Factor.” Malaysia, one of the world’s more progressive Muslim nations, has something rather different—a televised search for the country’s most eligible young religious leader.
“Young Imam” might look familiar at first glance. Ten good-looking male contestants in sharp-looking suits are assigned to sing and complete a series of complex tasks. At the end of the show, the studio lights dim, the music drops to a whisper, and a clutch of young hopefuls step forward nervously, waiting hand-in-hand to find out who will be sent home that night.
Instead of a record contract or a million-dollar prize, though, the last imam standing wins a scholarship to the al-Madinah University in Saudi Arabia, a job leading prayers at a Kuala Lumpur mosque and an expense-paid trip to Mecca to perform the Haj pilgrimage.