Someone should have checked out background of controversial song

“Music is my religion,” — Jimi Hendrix.

Our late friend, Jimi, supplies us with an observation pertinent to this dustup involving School District 51 and a student who quit after-school choir because he did not think it was proper for him to sing an Islamic-centered religious tune.

News of this created quite the national controversy, with some people getting the idea the student was being forced to sing the selection, which is not correct since the choir was a voluntary activity. Although, it’s unclear if the student could’ve just sat out this particular song and continued to participate in other rollicking choral selections.

News reports indicate this led to some idiotically abusive communication directed at the school district and I suppose the student, depending on one’s point of view about the source of the problem. Was it whoever came up with the cockamamie idea to sing this as part of something even vaguely sponsored by the school district or was it the student, so lacking in multicultural tolerance, he objected to the song?

To begin with I have to ask who thinks it’s a good idea to sing any kind of deeply religious selection as part of something organized by a school district at its facility, albeit after school hours. I can hazard a guess that had the choir director decided to start each practice with a musical version of the Lord’s Prayer, some individuals upset with the student for his intolerance, would be calling for the choir director to be frog marched into a Homeland Security van for questioning.

Moreover, when it comes to understanding the sensibilities of others, some are demonstrating an amazing confusion about the religious overtones of praising Allah; apparently assuming it is no big deal, since one deity is as good as the next.

Here’s an example from the comments section on this story here at The Daily Sentinel: “Allah and God are one and the same. Jews, Christians, and Muslims have different prophets, not different gods.”

First of all, we are wasting a lot of money building all these different places of worship. Evidently, we could just build a “Synachurque” for everybody, although I suspect the resulting architecture might be a bit bizarre.

Now sufficiently instructed on religious philosophy, let’s move on to the song, “Zikr,” which contains this verse, roughly translated, courtesy of GatewayPundit, “Only Allah is eternal and will be there when nothing else will be there, as everything other than Allah will get destroyed one day.”

Not exactly the inclusive piece of music you would think Christians, or for that matter, atheists, would be too enthusiastic about as part of any school performance.

And where did this song come from? Well, it comes from the musical score of the 2005 movie “Bose: The Forgotten Hero.”

Unfortunately, it is not the story of a great designer of acoustic headphones but rather that of a radical Indian nationalist, who was so excited to run the British out of India he felt that some people who could help him get the job done were the Nazis. They gave him a large number of captured Indian national soldiers who’d been fighting with the British to use as an army. Eventually, Mr. Bose decided the Germans were dragging their feet on his project, so he traveled by submarine to meet up with some other potential help mates in the form of the Imperial Japanese. 

He then spent time fighting on their side until 1945, when he may have died, somewhat mysteriously. There are some great photos of him having a chat with Heinrich Himmler and posing with Japanese premier/warlord Tojo.

Not really a buddy of the U.S. of A.

What we can extract from this misadventure is that school district officials clearly seemed to have no idea what they were doing by defending this mess. If no one has translated the song, don’t sing it. Don’t be that guy who has a foreign language tattoo he thinks means strength, when it’s really translated as nitwit.

Once you understand the lyrics of a song like this, and it’s background, but think it’s a good idea to perform it as part of an even vaguely school-connected event, you cannot act surprised at the controversy.


Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


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Right, Peter. Then there’s Handel’s Messiah. No chorus in the country would be singing those lyrics about the Lord of lords if they’d been set to a standard 12-bar blues. Choral music is about blending of voices, dynamic range, counterpoint and all kinds of effects other than the lyrics.

Not an actual song of worship, Zikr was composed for an historical movie. To leap from a musical score to religious and political sympathies like Wagner does is just ridiculous — it’s like saying performers of Lara’s Song from Dr. Zhivago are praising communism because they we in the movie.

The traditional style the composer was imitating was Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam that emphasizes emotional and personal ways of knowing God, with less emphasis on scripture and dogma. Something nice Christian singers might be able to identify with.

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