A video recently posted on YouTube, featuring a children's choir singing Tala' al-Badru Alayna, which was sung by Prophet Muhammad's companions to welcome him as he sought refuge in Medina, went viral as it was shared as a welcoming event for refugees in Canada while the country was getting ready for the second group of refugees.
The story was featured in numerous Canadian news outlets along with various other news outlets around the world, including Daily Sabah. However, recent reports suggested that the choir and the song did not have anything to do with welcoming the refugees, though it remains to be unusual choice for a Western country.
The Qatar-based Al Jazeera network, which also featured the choir as a welcoming event for refugees, published an article on Tuesday stating that the video was merely a choir activity in a multicultural French school in Ottawa. The video was initially shared by proud parent Dima Kilani, a Canadian Muslim, whose child took part in the choir. Kilani, who was touched by the event and the song, posted the video to her Facebook account with the title "Syrian refugees welcome to Canada", and the rest of the story followed.
The story of Kilani's video turning into a touching news story praising Canada and its recent stance on refugees also became a good example of verifying the source and how stories published in social media can transform into massive and misleading hits.
Nevertheless, in the video, a group of children aged 8-12 are seen singing the song, with piano playing in the background. A look at choir's members shows diversity and multiculturalism, hailed by Canadians to be some of the most important values in the country, in addition to human rights.
Regarded as the first nasheed (Islamic religious song), Tala' al-Badru Alayna was sung to the Prophet after he fled persecution in Mecca in 622.
Here are the lyrics of the nasheed:
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
Canada has only accepted 3,500 Syrian refugees since 2014, and the new Liberal government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to accept 25,000 refugees this year.
The first plane carrying Syrian refugees arrived in Toronto on December 10 and PM Trudeau, as well as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne have personally welcomed the refugees at the special terminal prepared exclusively for refugees, featuring signs in English, French and Arabic, a children's play area and more.
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