Footage of a Muslim girls’ choir singing Christmas carols at a church concert has emerged from the Lebanese capital of Beirut.
The ensemble of around 40 girls can be seen in a video singing ‘Silent Night’ in Arabic at St Elie Greek Catholic Church, located in a majority Muslim neighbourhood of the city.
The Imam Sadr Foundation choir was taking part in a concert organised by the Beirut Chants Festival, which organised 23 free concerts for advent from December 1st.
The girls’ performance took place on the 19th December, where they also accompanied famous Lebanese musician Abeer Nehme. The concert was one of several Christmas events they have taken part in, according to the Imam Sadr Foundation’s Facebook page.
The video has been widely shared on social media, with many comments praising the beauty of the music and the touching interfaith gesture. “Thank you for sharing this beautiful moment,” one person wrote. “Lebanon at its best,” another comment read.
Lebanon is a tolerant and religiously diverse country, whose population is 40 per cent Christian.
Its 1926 constitution ensures that there is parity between Muslim and Christian representatives in government, and the highest offices – President, Speaker of Parliament and Prime Minister – must be occupied by Christian, Shia Muslim and Sunni Muslim candidates respectively.
“Not only we will continue our life, but will do that the way that we want and love.”
In these words, one of the students in the choir of Imam Sadr Foundation reflected the motivations of her band to participate in a national event despite the contrived barriers between regions and communities. And with all the enthusiasm and hope, the choir persevere spreading joy and transmitting impulses of love in all occasions and seasons, where they take part.
The concept emerged with students with special needs. It was thought that the introduction of music in rehabilitation programs would help mostly to control their neuromuscular system, as will liberate more inherent energy, including relieving themselves and raise their morale. Soon, additional positive effects appeared on the performance of students as individual, as well as on their orchestral performance. It is a life completely different in form and in content, a new life began.
In the following years, the teaching staff was trained on how to use the music as an educational instrument. Quickly, the new methodology was applied in the entire educational system in the Foundation. The nucleus of the choir was few girls. Nowadays, it includes not less than forty students between the ages of six and sixteen years old.