Filipino Muslims organize four-hour Islamic quiz bee

Filipino Muslims organise four-hour Islamic quiz bee

DUBAI // Abdullah Puentespina will have new clothes and gifts and is also excited about his prospects in a quiz bee this Eid Al Fitr.

“I know the obligations of fasting for Muslims,” said the 10-year-old Filipino pupil of the United International Private School in Dubai. “I’ve learnt a lot about Islam and the Quran so I’m ready to win a prize.”

His siblings, Abdulrahman, 13, and Aisha, 8, will join him in the second UAE-Philippine Muslim Islamic quiz bee on Monday.

All three children, who are fasting for the first time this Ramadan, were born and raised as Muslims in Dubai. Their father Essa, 41, came to Dubai in 1998 and converted to Islam from Christianity a year later.

“I’ve been reading short stories on the prophets to them,” said Mr Puentespina, who works at a Dubai government department.

“They know the basic Islamic beliefs and practices from school.”

The quiz bee, he said, was not only about winning but uniting Filipino Muslims. Of the more than 600,000 Filipinos in the UAE, about 15,000 are Muslims.

“It’s a celebration of Eid and non-Muslims are welcome to attend the gathering,” Mr Puentespina said. “We’d like to spread awareness about Islam among Muslims and non-Muslims.”

Omar Gentilezo, 43, a civil engineer who embraced Islam in 2003, said Filipino Muslims in the UAE belong to different organisations and Islamic centres.

“We need to do something for the Filipino Muslim community,” he said. “This event is one way for us to get to know each other better and plan more activities and projects.”

In previous years, Filipino Muslims focused on socialising and sharing a meal during Eid Al Fitr.

“We thought it was such a waste of time,” said Ahmad Robledo, 47 who embraced Islam in 2006. “Last year, we decided to hold an Islamic quiz bee.”

For the second year, the Dubai Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities is hosting the event at its auditorium.

The event encourages participants to increase their knowledge of Islam and highlights the significance of Islamic history and way of life.

The four-hour competition will have three categories: children aged between 8 and 14, men and women.

More than 100 Filipino Muslims from Islamic centres in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Khor Fakkan, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman and three to four groups from Sharjah are expected to participate.

Each team will have three members who are required to answer 10 multiple choice questions correctly per round, with easy, medium and difficult levels.

They will be tested on their knowledge on the verses of the Quran, hadiths and general information about Islam.

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