James Harper, Grand Junction High School Student, Quits Choir In Protest Over Plans To Sing Islamic Song 'Zikr' (VIDEO)

02/15/2012 02:42 pm ET

When a Grand Junction High School men's choir made plans to sing an Islamic song called "Zikr," an upbeat rhythmic song that is not intended for a worship ceremony, one high school senior quit the choir in protest, 7News reports. But, the school district is siding with the music teacher.

James Harper, a Grand Junction High School senior and Christian active in his local church, was part of the all volunteer high school choir until his instructor Marcial Wieland made plans to sing "Zikr" which has lyrics that translate from the original Urdu to, "There is no truth except Allah" and "Allah is the only eternal and immortal," according to Fox News. The student choir sings the song in the original Urdu.

Harper told KREX in Grand Junction:

I don’t want to come across as a bigot or a racist, 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.

However, district officials defended the teacher's song choice. Wieland, who understood there could be objections to the song was open with the parents and students when making the selection telling them that students do not have to participate in the voluntary choir if they object, according to CBS4. Wieland also passed around an English translation of the lyrics and encouraged them to view the YouTube video below which features the music, written by Muslim composer A.R. Rahman.

WATCH A.R. Rahman's "Zikr" below:

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