James Harper quits Grand Junction High choir over Islamic song and prompts Fox News frenzy
Certain stories have Fox News written all over them -- like, for instance, the tale of James Harper, a small town Colorado student who quit his high school choir after discovering that one of the lines he was asked to warble translates to "There is no truth but Allah."
Number of comments on the Fox News report about this controversy? At this writing, more than 12,000.
This story strikes a chord with me in at least three significant ways: It's based in my hometown of Grand Junction, at my alma mater, Grand Junction High School, and was originally reported by KREX-TV, a station where I interned during my undergraduate days at what was then called Mesa State College.
As such, I was astonished to learn that a GJHS choir director had chosen to have her charges perform anything as foreign to conservative local sensibilities as "Zikr," by A.R. Rahman. During my time at the school (back during the Carter administration), a staffer would have been taking a risk by including "This Land Is Your Land," because you can bet someone would have bitched that Woody Guthrie was a commie.
Not that Rahman is anyone's idea of a bomb-throwing radical. The native of India is among the planet's most distinguished composers, and he won two Academy Awards for his brilliant work on the film Slumdog Millionaire. Oh yeah: His Wiki page features a shot of him performing at the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
Still, James Harper, a GJHS senior, didn't like having to mouth Rahman's sentiments. "I don't want to come across as a bigot or a racist," he told KREX, "but I really don't feel it is appropriate for students in a public high school to be singing an Islamic worship song.... This is worshipping another God, and even worshipping another prophet.... I think there would be a lot of outrage if we made a Muslim choir say Jesus Christ is the only truth."
Of course, there's been plenty of outrage over this incident, which ended with Harper dropping out of the choir after the area school district backed the choir director -- another startling development from my perspective. Here are some sample comments on Fox News' version of the Harper matter.
We are letting Muslims do what they want to do in the name of political correctness. This is America. They can preach to their own all that they want to but leave our culture alone. I hate what America is becoming. Our wonderful country, that has nothing to be ashamed of, is being shameful. Over 300 million people are being controlled by 530 fools and the first fool.
We need to replace EVERY SINGLE Liberal in office -- from city government to the Muslim-loving Prez. They are destroying our once great country.
If the song being sung by the school choir was praising Jesus, the atheists and ACLU would have been all over it like stink on dung. Where is that public outcry on this? If these hypocrites protest and litigate on behalf of separation of Church and State, they should be equally angered over the praising of an Islamic deity as they would be a Christian one. They're either all in or all out.
We are learning first hand and the hard way how this Muslimjihadis being perpetrated against us. They simply put a Muzzie in as POTUS. And we are going along with it just exactly the way they planned.
Think back folks to just the first year president DUNCE was in office and elementary school children having to sing songs of praise about president DUNCE.
Granted, not every commenter uses Harper's story as an opportunity to bash Barack Obama. There are occasional statements of support for the school, as well as attempts to calm the rhetoric like this one:
Doesn't anyone realize that that Christians and Muslims (and Jews) all worship the same God and that the word "Allah" is simply the Arabic translation of the word "God"?
The apparent answer to that question: "No." Look below to see the original KREX report, as well as a video featuring a full version of "Zikr."
Follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.
More from our Follow That Story archive: "Tim Tebow and Fox News: Bill O'Reilly, Steve Doocy fighting War on Tebow'?"
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.
- Reader: Pot Shops That Sell to Minors Hurt the Whole Industry and Here's Why
Fri., Oct. 9, 7:00pm
Sat., Oct. 10, 2:00pm
Sat., Oct. 10, 5:00pm
Sun., Oct. 11, 12:00pm
- Bet the Local Record Store Named One of America's Best Will Surprise You
- Dear Mexican: What Is the Bolo Tradition for Godparents?