Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ottawa School Choir's Welcome to Syrian Refugees Attracts Worldwide Attention

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ottawa School Choir's Welcome to Syrian Refugees Attracts Worldwide Attention

Article excerpt

Choir refugee song gets widespread attention

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OTTAWA - An Ottawa school choir's song billed on social media as a welcome to Syrian refugees coming to Canada has garnered widespread attention including praise from the prime minister.

The song was posted on YouTube last week under the title "Welcome to Canada Syrian Refugees."

According to the YouTube post, it was a historical song that was sung to the Prophet Muhammad when he sought refuge from Mecca to Medina.

The song, performed by students from De La Salle secondary school, 11 Ottawa-area elementary schools and a Kingston elementary school, has been viewed nearly 700,000 times since it was posted Dec. 11, including by Justin Trudeau.

"WATCH: Ottawa high school students sing a traditional Arabic welcome song. Well done De La Salle," Trudeau tweeted on Sunday.

Choir director Robert Filion said the song was an attempt at fostering diversity and cultural inclusion and was not originally meant as a welcome for Syrian refugees -- more than 300 of whom have arrived by Canadian government planes since Friday. …

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