A video (below) of a Canadian children's choir in Ottawa, Ontario, singing a welcome song in Arabic has gone viral on YouTube with more than 1 million views. The video follows the positive publicity of Canada's recent acceptance of Syrian refugees.
"We had no idea," Robert Filion, the choral director at the Ecole secondaire publique De La Salle, told CBC News. "We were not going for this type of impact. This was just our own little concert a week and a half ago, and now all of the sudden the entire world seems to be enjoying it."
"This is the reason we're doing music, to make an impact," Filion added. "But we never, never thought we were going to have this much of an impact."
The December concert, performed by children from local French schools, included "Tala al-Badru Alayna," a tune that was sung to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad when he arrived in Medina from Mecca. The traditional tune was arranged as a choral song by Canadian composer Laura Hawley.
“The song was renamed Alhamdoulillah,” Filion told GlobalNews.ca. “The choirs performed it at a festival called 'Les Choralies a De La Salle.'"
Filion said the idea to sing the song came before the government announced it would allow in 25,000 Syrian refugees.
“I wish I had thought of that,” Filion said. “Now it has even more meaning.”