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Palestinian from Gaza camp wins 'Arab Idol'

June 22, 2013|By Rushdi abu Alouf and Maher Abukhater
  • Viewers react with joy as television shows Palestinian singer Muhammed Assaf winning the "Arab Idol" talent contest June 22.
Viewers react with joy as television shows Palestinian singer Muhammed… (Mohammed Abed / AFP/Getty…)

 GAZA -- Muhammad Assaf, 23, from the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip was named winner of the "Arab Idol" talent show, prompting Palestinians across the region to celebrate in the streets, singing, dancing, setting off fireworks and honking car horns.

Assaf got the highest number of  votes from the public in the second season of the show, broadcast on the Saudi MBC-TV from its Beirut studios.

Palestinians had united in their support for Assaf. Crowds gathered across the Gaza Strip and West Bank to watch the results of the talent show after a day of intense campaigning to increase the number of votes for the young singer.

The streets of the Gaza Strip and West Bank were almost empty as people remained to their TVs watching the final episode of the show.

When the results were announced and Assaf was declared the winner, the streets erupted in celebration. Cheering people paraded or leaned out car windows, waving the Palestinian flag and shouting.

Nasser Barakat, 26, who was watching the show at a Gaza coffee shop, said Assaf “carries a message of peace and love from the people of Gaza to the whole world, and that Gaza is not only a place for violence, but that there is also joy and happiness.”

Abeer Mahmoud, 24, said she was not supporting Assaf only because he is Palestinian, “but because he is the best participant in the program.”

Assaf’s younger brother, Shadi, 19, said at their family home in Khan Yunis that he was very proud of his brother.

“He is a very simple person. It’s like a dream for him. I feel my brother was born to sing,” he said.

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