Eurovision celebrates 'first Muslim winner'

Eurovision celebrates 'first Muslim winner'
2 min read
The first practicing Muslim to win the Eurovision song contest performed an entry focusing on the deportation of Crimean Tatars by Stalin.
Jamala received 534 points for her song [Getty]
Ukraine's Jamala was declared the winner of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest late on Saturday night for a melancholic tune that recalled the 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars by Soviet authorities.

Susana Jamaladinova, who uses the stage name Jamala, received the highest score for her song, 1944, after votes from juries and TV viewers across Europe were tallied up following performances by the 26 finalists at Stockholm's Globe Arena.

Her song received received 534 points. Australia's Dami Im was second with 511 points and Russia's Sergey Lazarev third with 491.

The show was broadcast live in Europe, China, Kazakhstan, Australia, New Zealand and, for the first time, the United States. Last year's contest reached nearly 200 million viewers globally.

Amid entries about love and desire, Jamala's song stood out.

With sombre lyrics it recalls how Crimean Tatars, including her great-grandmother, were deported to central Asia in 1944 by Josef Stalin's regime during World War II.

"When strangers are coming
They come to your house
They kill you all
And say
We're not guilty/Not guilty"


"I really want peace and love to everyone," she said, hoisting the Eurovision trophy and a Ukrainian flag.

The focus on Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, could be considered a swipe at Moscow, but Jamala insisted there was no political subtext, and contest officials agreed, as no overtly political lyrics are allowed in the competition.

Loreen, the Swedish singer who won the 2012 competition held in Baku, Azerbaijan, was raised in a Muslim family, but is non-practicing.