Palestinians unite behind Gaza wedding singer for ‘Arab Idol’ final

A 23-year-old wedding singer from a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip has given Palestinians a rare sense of pride and national unity by reaching the final of “Arab Idol,” a regional TV singing contest watched by millions of people.

Palestinians unite behind Gaza refugee on course to become Arab Idol

Mohammad Assaf is now among the last six contestants from an original field of 27  Photo: AFP

By Associated Press

4:49PM BST 22 Jun 2013

A 23-year-old wedding singer from a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip has given Palestinians a rare sense of pride and national unity by reaching the final of “Arab Idol,” a regional TV singing contest watched by millions of people.

Across Gaza, an impoverished territory ruled by the Islamic militant Hamas, people gathered around TV screens at home, in coffee shops and in seaside cafes on Friday night to watch Mohammed Assaf compete in the final against two other competitors from Egypt and Syria. The winner is to be announced on Saturday night after viewers in the region vote for their favourite.

When Mr Assaf struck up his signature anthem to Palestinian nationalism, “Raise the keffiyeh,” in the final show, fireworks erupted in Gaza and spectators jumped to their feet for the traditional “dabka” dance.

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