Saidi Dushimimana and Mohammed Zigabe, both eighteen years old, on February 17 won the regional Holy Qur'an recital competition in Nairobi, Kenya.
Rwanda was announced the overall winner of the competition's 8th edition, which brought together Islam students from nine countries in the region.
Dushimimana won the overall prize money of over Rwf6 million ($7,000), while his colleague Zigabe came second, taking home Rwf4.6 million ($5,000).
The regional Qur'an recital competition, according to the Mufti of Rwanda, Sheikh Salim Hitimana, seeks to promote the universal message of peace through the Qur'an, and also aims to preserve Muslim culture and tradition.
"This competition is important because it inspires youth to grow with the best values. Understanding the Qur'an and being able to memorize it helps Muslims learn the teachings of Allah," he said during an event that was organised to welcome the Rwandan team from Kenya, at Madina mosque in downtown Kigali.
However, Hitimana also urged the Muslim community to stand for peace and love as recommended by the Qur'an.
"There are many people who call themselves Muslims and engage in mass killings of innocent lives, but Muslims should not be connected to such evil. Those are not Muslims, because the Qur'an teaches Muslims to be united, live in peace and respect the rights of every human being," he pointed out.
Saidi Dushimimana, the overall winner said it was the third time he was taking part in such a competition but had never won it.
"Winning this competition, to me, is a reflection of Allah's mercy on my journey because I know that every competitor was good," he said.
"Going forward, he adds, "I want to win the global recital competition inshallah (God willing)," the $7,000 winner concluded.
Besides Rwanda, the competition also attracted Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Tanzania.