Should an Islamic song stating "There is no truth except Allah" and "Allah is the only eternal and immortal." be sung in a public school concert? Would the district be standing behind the teacher if it was a Christian song and someone complained?
Religious Music in High School Choir Forces Student to Quit Singing
Islamic Prayer Song Being Sung by GJHS Choir
by Matt Kroschel
Grand Junction - A Grand Junction High School student wants a song picked for the after-school men's choir group pulled, because he says the Islamic piece is not appropriate for a public school choir. The song is called "Zikr," and its composer says is not intended for a worship ceremony.
For senior James Harper, a Christian who is active in his local church, the wording and meaning of the song is such that he feels it should not be performed by students in a public school setting.
?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 NewsChannel 5.
Harper sent an email to District 51 officials expressing his concerns with the song. He also contacted the KREX newsroom.
District officials said while they understand not everyone will agree with or appreciate songs due to the religious nature of the pieces, they completely stand behind both the music teacher and the song.
?This is about bringing diversity to the students and showing them other things that are out there,? spokesman Jeff Kirtland said. ?The teacher was open with the parents and students do not have to participate in this voluntary club choir.?
The upbeat, rhythmic song combines dancing with drums. School officials said the teacher, knowing that there may be some questions about the song, asked her students to watch a You Tube video of the song and passed out the English translation to students.
GJHS choir instructor Marcia Wieland?s professional work as a conductor and teacher spans a wide variety of ages, including experiences with high school, collegiate, and adult choirs. Ms. Wieland holds a Bachelor of Music in choral music education from Oakland University.