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ARAB IDOL


UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – A contestant on an American Idol type of show is rising to fame while sharing ideas that are dear to her heart!

“Million’s Poet” is an American Idol-style contest in Arabic Poetry. Instead of singing, contestants are judged based on how well they recite poems. Contestants are competing to talk away with a $1.3 million prize and their fate lies in the hands of a panel of judges and thousands of viewers voting by text messages.

One contestant is fighting for more than just the prize money. Hissa Hilal of Saudi Arabia is a housewife, a mother of four and a passionate poet. She’s a finalist in the competition and the first woman to reach the finals. After much self-motivation, she finally had the courage to audition for the show.

“I thought if I don’t come this year, then I’ll never come. And this is my chance to reach millions of people,” Hilal told ABC News.

Her poetry was last week was just as shocking as it was beautiful. She attacked Muslim religious leaders as “vicious in voice, barbaric, angry and blind,” and guilty of “preying like a wolf” on people seeking peace. She specifically blasted fatwas as a side of the extremism that is “creeping into our society.”

“My poetry has always been provocative,” said Hilal. “It’s a way to express myself and give voice to Arab women, silenced by those who have hijacked our culture and our religion.”

Hilal’s comments have sparked numerous death threats on Islamic militant Web sites. Although concerned by them, they are not enough to send her into hiding.

“I worry how I will be perceived after the show is over, when judgement is passed and people begin to talk about my performance and idea,” she said. “I worry the lights of fame will affect my simple and quiet existence.”