Student quits choir over Muslim-themed song

Director: For all-volunteer group at Grand Junction High, religious liberty not an issue

A Grand Junction High School student quit the school’s men’s choir recently in response to the choir director selecting a song with Muslim themes.

The song, “Zikr,” which is Urdu for “remembrance” or “invocation,” will be performed during an upcoming vocal competition, according to District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland. The song repeatedly uses the term “Allah,” which translates to “God” in English.

Grand Junction High School senior James Harper told KREX-TV he quit the choir because he said he did not think it was appropriate for public school students to sing a Muslim worship song. “Zikr” was written by Indian composer A.R. Rahman, whose past work includes collaborations on the soundtrack of the film “127 Hours” and the score for “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Kirtland read a prepared statement from District 51 that said the men’s choir is a voluntary, after-school activity for which students receive no academic credit. He said the choir will sing a Christian song called “Prayer of the Children” at its next competition, as well as “Zikr” and an Irish folk song.

“Choral music is often devoted to religious themes, and the performance of songs with religious lyrics is common at choral concerts and other events at which the choir performs,” Kirtland said.

The choir is allowed to perform music that mentions specific religions. Kirtland said the choir director chose the music for “its rhythms and other qualities” and “not because of its religious message or lyrics.”

Kirtland said the director asked students to view an online performance of “Zikr” with their parents before the piece was selected as one of the three to be performed at a competition. He said no students will be forced to sing the song.


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I saw this kid in his TV interview and was saddened by his lack of knowlege. He said he didn’t want to honor the God of Muslims without understanding that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship the same God.

Although she may be Politically correct - I think that Claudette should study the Muslim religion and the Christian religion, than come back and say that “this kid” is the only one with a lack of knowledge.

Nowhere did I say the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religions took the same approach to God, only that they all worship the same one. Ms Dry, I’ve studied comparative religions at a Lutheran College, my comment is based on quite a bit of knowlege that came from professors who teach people how to be Lutheran ministers. (Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois.)

An Academic Progressive…trained to be a Lutheran Minister certainly sets my mind at ease.

Ms. Dry - It really doesn’t make any difference. All religions and religious belief is based on mythology and superstition. None of it has ever been proven as fact - that’s why it’s called “faith.”

Claudette, while beeing well meaning, you are very naive regarding Islam and it’s plan for America.  While you and I recognize that there is only one God, he is not the same which Islam serves.  Islam teaches, Allah is the only God and his teachings must be followed.  Allah’s teachings are that Islam is the only faith and either a person converts, or they are an “Infidel.”  “Infidels” are deemed not fit to live with Muslims and should be killed.  “islamic Creep” is already in the United States and if people do not wake up and become educated, one day we will find ourselves in the same position as many European countries that have been over run by Muslims.  Think I am imagining all this, take a look at the attached video and then ask yourself, is that happening in Grand Junction?  The young man in question has a lot of courage and the school administrators need to be taken to the woodshed.,AAAACEco_Vk~,9bOat4XcfB_88ri1a3UMdKnLpH9aM8Fv&bclid=0&bctid=1271237687001

Ms. Cook - I watched the video you recommended with interest. The speaker is identified as Brigitte Gabriel, but that’s not her real name. She was born Nour Saman into a radical Maronite Christian family in Lebanon. She is a life-long anti-Muslim extremist, and has no credibility among most religious leaders. She is a true wing-nut.

Ms Cook may be on to something when she warns that religious intolerance and bigotry is happening right here in Grand Junction. Tht poor kid who gave up singing is a prime example of the phenomenon.

Claudette - This Brigitte Gabriel (Nour Saman) person in Ms. Cook’s recommended video is a real character. She makes her living primarily on the right-wing lecture circuit spouting intolerance and anti-Muslim hatred to paranoid neo-fascist and religious-right groups, especially extremist evangelical Christian political groups and church congregations.

The kid certainly has the perogative not to partcipate, no matter the reason. As a musician who enjoys performing music from around the world because of the richness and universality of music, I am reminded of the Iraqi underground orchestra whose musicians risked their lives, hiding their violins, cellos, and oboes as they met secretly to perform classical music by Mozart, Brahms, and Beethoven. They did so not for political reasons, but for love of music—all music. That our local choir director is receiving hate-filled emails for her selection of music is a travesty. It’s music… music… The notes and chords are available for everyone…

Oops, for some reason my husband’s name and not mine is listed on my comment above. Krystyn Hartman

I think the choir director should have been more sensitive to our nation’s deeply felt opposition to Muslim influence of any kind because of what Muslim terrorists have done to our people both here(9/11) and abroad.  Twenty-five or thirty years ago no one would have thought twice about such a song.

The above comment was mine, not Harry’s.  Sue Benjamin

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