Some parents at a Minnesota school are upset with a choir teacher’s decision to have students sing a Ramadan song that includes the words “Allahu akbar” during a holiday concert.
For a Thursday night holiday concert at Blaine High School, one of the songs chosen is “Eid un Sa’Eid,” an English-language song with some Arabic words that celebrates the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The lyrics, in part, go as follows:
All over the world
Under the big-blue sky
Muslims unite to worship Allah
It’s a time of brotherhood, a time of peace
Muslims are singing praises to Allah
La Ilaaha Illa-Allahu
Allahu Akbar wa Lillahil Hamd
Families are gathering
And that His Love is the Greatest by far
All Praise for You Allah
What rankles some parents are the repeated chants of “Allahu akbar,” which means “God is the greatest” in Arabic, and is a common phrase throughout the Islamic world. In the West, though, it’s best known as a battle cry for Islamic extremists (though the phrase is hardly exclusive to them).
School officials told local CBS statiom WCCO there have been about a dozen complaints regarding the song. A district spokesperson pointed out that the concert will also include Christian and Jewish songs, such as “Silent Night” and the Hallelujah chorus.
“Songs are not performed in a worship setting or to promote religion,” the Anoka-Hennepin School District said in a statement given to WCCO, “but rather in [an] educational setting where students are learning and performing music.”
But not all parents are satisfied. One told WCCO it was “insensitive” to include the song so shortly after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks. Other parents have posted complaints on Facebook, with one parent saying they were assured their child could refuse to take part without hurting their grade.
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