MONTREAL — It’s a shaky and grainy video, but its message is what has the Internet in tears.
This YouTube video shows an Ottawa children’s choir singing what appears to be a welcome song for Syrian refugees in Arabic.
The song, ‘Tala’ al-Badru ‘Alayna,’ is a traditional Islamic melody sung to the Prophet Muhammad to welcome him as he sought refuge in Madinah after being forced to leave his hometown of Mecca.
In this video posted on December 11 with the title “Welcome To Canada Syrian Refugees,” the song was arranged by Canadian composer Laura Hawley.
“The song was renamed Alhamdoulillah,” said the choir’s director Robert Filion. “The Choirs performed it at a festival called “Les Choralies à De La Salle”.
Filion said the song was his attempt at bringing in diversity and cultural inclusion and was not originally intended for the Syrian refugees.
“I wish I had thought of that,” said Filion. “Now it has even more meaning,” he added.
Since then, the video has over 50,000 views and is flooded with comments from emotional viewers.
“I am an Arab, this video made me cry,” posted DrSaraLove. “I haven’t cried like that in really long. Thank you Canada. Beautiful people.”
“This is an instance of a country welcoming and helping people regardless of their religion,” added Sohan Dsouza.
The video has touched viewers from as far away as Southeastern Europe, with one user writing:
“Wow, what a beautiful behaviour. It’s awesome. Many greetings from the Republic of Kosovo.”
The lyrics roughly translate to this:
Oh the white moon rose over us
From the valley of Wada’
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
We welcome you who call to us a good way.
Editor’s note: this story was updated from its original version to show that the choir’s original intent was not to welcome Syrian refugees.