A global contest reading of the Quran by young Muslim children that takes place in Cairo, Egypt annually during Ramadan. A coming of age story about Muslim kids in modern times.
110 kids from the Islamic world are chosen and arrive in Cairo for the world's oldest Koran reciting contest. KORAN BY HEART follows two boys from Senegal and Tajikistan, and a little girl from Maldives - who go head-to-head with kids nearly twice their age in the pronunciation, recitation and perfected memorization of the Qur'an. Even as their own future hangs in the balance, they are caught between fundamentalist and moderate visions of Islam.
One of Islam's most revered traditions, Koran recitation reaches its pinnacle at the world's preeminent recitation competition in Cairo, where Muslim children come from across the globe to perform in front of a panel of prominent judges. Contestants as young as seven are ranked against kids more than twice their age for both their comprehensive memorization of the 600-page text as well as their improvised melodies. A diverse spectrum of Muslims competes for top prize: Ten-year-old Senegalese entrant Djamil navigates the competition alone while his community anxiously awaits his results; Rifdha, from a small island in the Maldives, enters as one of the competition's few female participants; and Nabiollah, from rural Tajikistan, mesmerizes judges with his angelic voice in spite of not speaking Arabic.
Following these talented youngsters from their intense preparation regimes through the rigorous rounds of the tournament, director Greg Barker creates both an inspirational competition film and an engaging survey of the unique experiences of Muslim children throughout the world, using the cultural crossroads of the international competition to examine the issues facing of the next generation of Muslims.