FRANKFURT: The media in Germany and Switzerland have been widely reporting about a Malaysian reality television show called “Imam Muda” (Young Imam).
While in many Western countries, a television talent show is organised to select a star, Malaysia is hiring the next “star imam” through a talent search show, as many German and Swiss dailies have been reporting.
Details of the “Imam Muda” show have been widely reported by a number of dailies - from the Tagesspiegel, Merkur Online through n-tv.de, Bild.de, Sueddeutsche Zeitung to the Swiss daily Tagesanzeiger - and have kept the readers engrossed, as comments from readers to the news report suggest.
The “Imam Muda” talent show reported about eight young men who appeared on Malaysian television at prime time, attired in suits and the traditional caps.
Switzerland’s “Tagesanzeiger”, for example, describes the candidates as “superstars” on Malaysian television and reports that they seem to have become heart throbs of many young girls.
Unlike in other reality shows, where participants usually sing or dance, the candidates in the “Imam Muda” show recite verses from the Quran, have the necessary training in washing dead bodies for Islamic burial, and pledge to protect young Malaysians from sex and drugs.
The talent show casts young Islamic clerics, the paper goes on.
The weekly talent show is headed by Hasan Mahmud, a former imam himself. He is creating a pool of exemplary young imams and using their help to combat the “social and moral decadence”.
The candidates, aged between 18 and 27, are selected according to personality criteria and their knowledge of religion. As in “American Idol” and other talent shows, candidates are phased out each week after they failed to qualify.
Many viewers and readers were surprised to know that for the duration of the show, the candidates are isolated and kept in the sleeping hall of a mosque - without any mobile phones, Internet, television and other modern gadgets - so that they “think for themselves” and do not have to rely on any outside help or prompting.“
The winner of the contest can expect a pilgrimage to Mecca, financial assistance in pursuing studies at the Islamic university of Medina, and employment in a mosque,” says a commentator in the German daily Tagesspiegel which is published from Berlin.
The German daily contends that all the casting participants can be sure of having the “admiration of young female admirers and potential mothers-in-law”.
“For Muslims, the ideal sons-in-law are aspiring imams because they are educated and well-versed in Islam,” the daily quoted Iselan Bazar of the cable channel Astro Oasis which airs the religious talent search. - Bernama
In the wake of Malaysia's social detriment among teenagers and youth, I'd bet with them in garnering future potential mothers-in-law admiration...