On December 12, 2015, Today’s Zaman, – a Turkish English-language daily newspaper, published an article (reposted by Global News) – about a video which surfaced on YouTube showing a choir singing a welcome song for Syrian refugees to Canada in the Arabic language.
The video was posted one day after the arrival of the first 163 Syrian refugees who were personally welcomed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne at Pearson Airport in Toronto.
During the election campaign, the Liberal Party pledged to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of December, 2015, but due to mounting security and logistical concerns, had to extend the deadline for resettlement of the refugees to February, 2016.
The video titled “Welcome to Canada Syrian Refugees” shows the choir singing one of the oldest songs in the Islamic culture called “Tala‘ al-Badru ‘Alaynā” which is sung to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad upon his arrival in Medina after completing the Battle of Tabuk.
Since it was posted, the video has been viewed over 1,1 million times and was flooded with tearful and positive comments from viewers. DrSaraLove said:
“I am an Arab, this video made me cry. I haven’t cried like that in really long. Thank you Canada. Beautiful people. I hate our Arab governments even more now. But Thank you.”
However, not all commenters shared the same feeling. Oday682 said: “Unfortunately only a small minority of muslims deserve this warm welcome. I’m from Iraq and I can tell you that no matter how much kindness and warm-heartedness you show, the primitive savage majority of muslims will always hate you, consider you as morally loose doomed infidels and will try to take advantage of you. I come from a muslim family and society and I know how they think.”
The lyrics of the song in English is as follows:
The full moon rose over us
From the valley of Wada
And it is incumbent upon us to show gratitude
For as long as anyone in existence calls out to God
Oh our Messenger amongst us
Who comes with the exhortations to be heeded
You have brought to this city nobility
Welcome you who call us to a good way
In related news, on December 11, 2015, The Georgia Straight reported that a gay men’s choir from Vancouver, British Columbia, raised enough money to enable two gay Syrian men to apply for refugee status in Vancouver.
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