[Ed. note: To watch the referenced video, follow the link above or click here.]
A Canadian school's rendition of a traditional Arabic song has gone from praise to outrage as the song's lyrics and original intent become clearer.
Students at De La Salle High School in Ottawa performed what was originally touted as a peaceful Arabic welcoming song at a recital in December. The video of the song, called "Tala' al-Badru 'Alayna" was shared online, coinciding with the arrival of Syrian refugees into Canada.
The song and video turned into an anthem of Canadian inclusiveness as it was used to welcome the refugees, reported the Toronto Sun. Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted the video, writing: "Ottawa high school students sing a traditional Arabic welcome song. Well done De La Salle! #WelcomeToCanada."
But what soon became clear was that the song, originally thought to be welcoming the Prophet Mohammed, could have another underlying meaning.
Munir Pervaiz, the president of the Muslim Canadian Congress, said it is a "very religious song in all its meaning," and cannot be used in the context of welcoming Syrian refugees. "It's only sung in the praise of the holy prophet and for no one else," he said, according to the Sun.
Some point out that the song has a more political meaning, as it was originally intended to welcome Mohammed back after a battle that defeated Christians.
"Most Muslims would understand this nasheed as something ancient, religious and quite innocuous," explained Daniel Pipes, a Middle Eastern scholar. "But Islamists understand it as a victory song. So, most immigrants would feel heart warmed by hearing it on arrival in Canada but some would understand it as the subjugation of the kafirs who are singing it."
Though unintentional, the school's use of the song may be used to promote Islamist sentiments, according to the Sun, which defies common sense when one considers that many of the refugees are not Muslim.
"Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide wrestle daily with Islamist terrorism," said David Harris, an intelligence expert. "So it's astonishing that Canadian public school officials could blow scarce tax money to create a children's choir piece said to evoke images of jihadist victory over infidels."
Harris added, "The only thing weirder, is the way some Canadians embrace the apparently Islamist-themed music as a welcoming song for Syrian migrants who might include non-Muslims escaping Islamist violence."
As Pipes simply said, "My advice would be for everyone to stay clear from anything that the Islamists can use to their advantage."