Co-author: Tatum Tricarico
On Wednesday of last week, MC’s choir had to adjust to the administration’s request to remove an Islamic chant from their
Thursday night concert. This decision caused much uproar within the choir and students throughout the school.
“There was a woman who complained that she did not want the Islamic song to be in the concert, so she called the news, the school, the Poway Unified School District, and the superintendents,” sophomore Rameen Javadian said.
The complaint was originally brought up by a parent of a chorister.
“We had a complaint that was filed based off of the separation of church and state,” Principal Greg Magno said.
In response to this complaint, the superintendent made the decision to request the removal of the chant, titled “Zikr”, that was to be sung by the Classical Choir Ensemble.
The first of “Zikr” can be translated to “Those of you, who seek Allah’s attention, Come, as you are called by Allah. There is no better deed than Zikr , said the Holy Prophet of Allah. And those who do Zikr of Allah from core of their hearts, become successful. And Zikr cuts Nafs [a human being’s desire to do whatever he wants] so Zikr is sword of Allah.”
According to Magno, the song was originally cut since it needed to be to be reviewed, a difficult task to complete in the time available.
“Since it was considered a religious song and we had to cut that one, Magno and I decided to that we would cut all of the religious pieces because we didn’t think that it would be fair to just cut the one,” Marti Martinez, the school’s choir director said.
The choir’s main purpose in including religious songs in their performance was to embody America’s diversity.
“[Sophomore] Ashleigh Kayton and I tried to make a petition saying that we need religious tolerance. We wanted the Islamic song and all the other religious songs back in the concert,” sophomore Rameen Javadian said. “what the school did was totally unfair.”
The petition gained over 400 signatures and according to Javadian, may have been a deciding factor in allowing a full performance to take place at MC last Thursday night.
“Our petition was to let people who decided that the song should be cut know that you can’t discriminate against one religion,” Kayton said. “You either have to cut all of them or none at all.”
Choir has been rehearsing for this show since the start of the fall trimester. The songs that were cut by the superintendent and Martinez included songs that the choir had won prestigious awards for.
On opening night at call time, the choristers were informed by Martinez that the religious songs were going to be performed.
“At that one point [on opening night], we felt that we did [have enough information], so we put the whole show on,” Magno said,
This unexpected change in the program was welcomed by the students and the concert went on as originally planned.
At the end of the night, choir received a standing ovation as they completed their performance singing side by side with Black Mtn. Middle School.