Children of the Koran

| 89
Bengali (Bangladesh)
| German

Children have to memorize 6,234 Koran verses by heart. They learn 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for two years to become a "hafiz". This is life in the Koran schools, the madrasas. German-Bangladeshi filmmaker Shaheen Dill-Riaz was granted access to a madrasa in Bangladesh - where filming is actually strictly forbidden. The training in these schools qualifies boys to eventually become Koran teachers and to appear as clerics at ceremonies of all kinds. Children from poorer backgrounds in particular attend madrasas as this supposedly gives the parents spiritual protection and the promise of a good afterlife. "Above all, "Children of the Koran" creates insights into the sad banality of an institution that is still surrounded by secrets and clichés in the West." (