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June 16, 2011

Bosnian choir takes on war with Muslim hymns

Sunday's Zamen (Turkey):

One choir in Bosnia defies the very notions of hatred, racism and discrimination, being the voice of three nations whose sons and daughters were shooting at each other just 18 years ago.

The terror of the Bosnian war is still alive on the streets of Bosnia and Herzegovina, filled with poignant images of bullet holes on the facades of buildings and other structures laid completely to waste. The Sultan Mehmed Fatih Ensemble, whose repertoire consists of Muslim hymns, called ilahis, stands amidst and against this past hatred and atrocity with its members of Croatian, Serb and Bosnian origin. The members are all students at the Ilidza School of Music and each of them stands as a testimony to what tolerance, love, dialogue and brotherhood can achieve.

They breathe in the peace the Ottomans brought to Balkan soil, singing ilahis from a united heart, “La ilaha ilAllah”. They don’t care if they are criticized by those who find it hard to understand how a person of Orthodox or Catholic faith can praise the name of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad.

Dajana Aladzuz, a Catholic choir member of Croat origin, says she was taught by her parents to respect differences. “I didn’t know what an ilahi was when I first began. I thought they were just songs. When my teacher told me about the message of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, I felt different spiritually. I tried to sing more beautifully because now I know what these are and I feel them.”

Srna Sain, an Orthodox Serb, believes the choir facilitates dialogue. “Our problem is that we don’t talk to each other. This is because we think we’ll never be able to reach a point where we’ll understand each other. I am a Serb and people don’t understand how I can sing ilahi or kaside [odes mostly written for the prophet]. It is normal for me. My family is very understanding. My dad comes to our concerts and he really enjoys them.” Read more.

Posted by acapnews at June 16, 2011 10:32 PM

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