Malaysia reality TV completes quest for Muslim role model

August 1, 2010 10:14

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — An Islamic reality TV show that made its contestants counsel promiscuous teenagers and bury corpses has named a 26-year-old mosque prayer leader as Malaysia's top role model for young Muslims.

Producers voiced hopes Sunday of launching similar versions of "Imam Muda," or "Young Leader," in other Muslim-majority countries after the Malaysian show's first season became the most-watched program to ever air on pay-television network Astro's Islamic channel.Muhammad Asyraf Ridzuan beat a 27-year-old Islamic schoolteacher who studied at Egypt's Al-Azhar University to win the competition late Friday in an event broadcast nationwide from an auditorium packed with spectators who secured highly coveted tickets.

It was the culmination of a 10-episode run to find a young man whose religious devotion could inspire other Malaysian Muslims of his generation.

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