Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Malek Jandali Freedom Qashoush Symphony مالك جندلي حرية سيمفونية القاشوش

We have spent many happy hours and days in Syria. We grieve for our Syrian friends, for those living in Homs and Hama, and all those seeking freedom from tyranny.

February 16, 2012 Posted by | Bureaucracy, ExPat Life, Free Speech, Interconnected, Leadership, Living Conditions, Political Issues | | Leave a comment

Wooo HOOOOO! Official Zain Kuwait Flashmob – فلاش موب زين الكويت

I LOVE this! Thank you, Hayfa! I love it that it is real Kuwaiti’s; I can’t tell the song, but I think it is one of the National Day songs (National Day and Liberation Day are coming up, February 25 / 26) and oh, what a wonderful, fun way to celebrate.

I especially love the security guard 🙂

Everyone is having such a great time!

February 16, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions | 2 Comments

Colorado Student Quits Choir Over Song about Allah

Those who do not know that there is only one God often think Allah is not the same God we worship. Those who do not know the history of Islam do not understand that all our traditions stem from Abraham, and that Islam springs from Hajar, mother of Ishmael. They do not know that the prayers start with “There is no God but Allah” and I am willing to bet that linguistically, Jahweh and Allah are related, too.

The good news is, too, that this is not an official school activity, and the student has the freedom to sing – or not to sing. My bet is that the student is missing out on an interesting opportunity to sing some very different music.

A Colorado high school student says he quit the school choir after an Islamic song containing the lyric “there is no truth except Allah” made it into the repertoire.
James Harper, a senior at Grand Junction High School in Grand Junction, put his objection to singing “Zikr,” a song written by Indian composer A.R. Rahman, in an email to Mesa County School District 51 officials. When the school stood by choir director Marcia Wieland’s selection, Harper said, he quit.

“I don’t want to come across as a bigot or a racist, but I really don’t feel it is appropriate for students in a public high school to be singing an Islamic worship song,” Harper told KREX-TV. “This is worshipping another God, and even worshipping another prophet … I think there would be a lot of outrage if we made a Muslim choir say Jesus Christ is the only truth.”

But district spokesman Jeff Kirtland defended the decision to include the song.
“Choral music is often devoted to religious themes. … This is not a case where the school is endorsing or promoting any particular religion or other non-educational agenda. The song was chosen because its rhythms and other qualities would provide an opportunity to exhibit the musical talent and skills of the group in competition, not because of its religious message or lyrics,” Kirtland told in an email while noting that the choir “is a voluntary, after-school activity.”

“Students are not required to participate, and receive no academic credit for doing so,” he said.

At an upcoming concert, the choir is scheduled to sing an Irish folk song and an Christian song titled “Prayer of the Children,” in addition to the song by Rahman.
“The teacher consulted with students and asked each of them to review an online performance of the selection with their parents before making the decision to perform the piece,” Kirtland said, and members who object to the religious content of musical selections aren’t required to sing them.

Rahman, who has sold hundreds of millions of records and is well-known in his homeland, has said the song is not intended for a worship ceremony. He told in a written statement that the song, composed for the move “Bose, the Forgotten Hero,” is about “self-healing and spirituality.”

“It is unfortunate that the student in Colorado misinterpreted the intention of the song,” Rahman said. “I have long celebrated the commonalities of humanity and try to share and receive things in this way. While I respect his decision for opting out, this incident is an example of why we need further cultural education through music.”
The song is written in Urdu, but one verse translates to “There is no truth except Allah” and “Allah is the only eternal and immortal.” Although the choir sang the original version, Wieland distributed translated lyrics.
Grand Junction High School Principal Jon Bilbo referred questions to Kirtland.’s Joshua Rhett Miller contributed to this story.

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February 16, 2012 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Community, Education, Free Speech, Living Conditions, Values | 4 Comments