A performance of a traditional Arabic song by a group of students in Ottawa went viral over the weekend in conjunction with the arrival of Syrian refugees in the country.
A video posted to YouTube shows a large choir performing the song, “Tala‘ al-Badru ‘Alayna” at École Secondaire Publique De La Salle in the Canadian capital in early December. Reports first indicated that the song was sung to welcome refugees arriving in Canada over the weekend, but the choir director Robert Filion has since said that the decision to use the song was made before the Canadian government announced that it would accept 25,000 Syrian refugees, CBC reports.
However, according to BuzzFeed, the song’s message is one of hope and refuge and still carries great meaning to Muslims. It was reportedly sung to the Prophet Muhammad when he fled to Medina in the seventh century, CBC says.
“Every year we try to touch different cultures, and a year ago we started planning to do a Muslim-inspired piece,” Filion told the CBC. “We came up with that tune … and the rest is history.”
The video has been viewed over 725,000 times.