Thursday, 18 August 2011

Pakistan has its own version of "Who Wants to be a Millionnaire?". But this version is a bit different. The questions are all on religious topics. And since this is Pakistan, that means Islam. The host is a former heart-throb pop star turned religious fundamentalist. And the top prize is a house in Mecca! The second-highest prize is a Hajj trip to Mecca along with 20,000 euros. Third prize is another trip to Mecca. In theory, non-Muslims are not barred from participating, but since they're not allowed to go to Mecca anyway, the prizes wouldn't be of much use to them.

Along with the usual options of phoning a friend or asking the audience (which consists almost entirely of long-bearded men and heavily veiled women), there is a new one: asking an in-house mufti.

Here is a typical exchange on the program:

"How many pieces of cloth are in the vestments that pilgrims wear to Mecca?" asks the presenter. "Two," replies the contestant. "Is that your final answer?" The contestant nods. "Allahu Akbar! God congratulate you, my brother, that is correct."

Titled "Alif Laam Meem", the programme has an audience of between 30-40 million people, and is especially popular with women in the 18-25 age bracket.

Sources: Der Spiegel, Le Figaro

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