US and Aussie contestants say its not easy to follow religion

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Dubai, Sep 29 (UNI) It is difficult to be religious in countries like the US and Australia where amenities and liberty are in abundance to lure the youth, Australian and American contestants said at the International Holy Quran Award here.

''Most people of my age back home usually spend their free time having fun, driving cars around, going to night clubs, practising sports and various activities. But, I've decided early in the life to devote most of my time to reciting and reading the Holy Quran, '' the Khaleej times quoted Mohammed Ali Shaikh (19) from the United States of America as saying.

Shaikh's spent most of his time in mosque and school, when he was 11. At the age of 16, he studied mathematics, science and the Holy Quran in an Islamic boarding college.

''The college was very far from my hometown in Michigan. This helped me to keep away from my local friends who would otherwise waste my time talking nonsense. Now I'm studying engineering and reading the Holy Quran,'' he mentioned.

Confident about his performance in the contest, Shaikh said he loved music and could sing rap songs and recite the Holy Quran.

On the absence of the US Embassy's personnel to boost up his morale at the award, he said, '' They probably don't know that I am in Dubai to represent the US at the award.'' Denying the negative perception of people about the Western communities, the Australian contestant Abdullah Zod said, ''The Western communities are not different from their eastern counterparts. There are good and bad people in all communities. The conduct of an individual is according to his upbringing.'' Zod, whose father is an Islamic preacher, noted that there were many religious people in Australia and there was full freedom.

''It's up to the person to choose the right path,'' he added.

UNI

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