Manama: One high school student and two teachers have been remanded in custody as the authorities continue investigations in a highly controversial incident that amounted to defaming Islam and insulting its rituals.
Last week, the education ministry said that it launched a probe after a video clip showing a student singing verses from the Quran accompanied with music went viral on the net and shook the nation.
The student is shown in the clip singing verses from Al Fatiha (The Opening), the first chapter in the Quran, while another performer was playing the cello.
The performance was part of a talent show competition organised by a private school.
“The whole issue has been referred to education investigators and the necessary measures are being taken,” the Ministry of Education said last week.
Abdul Rahman Kanoo International School said in a statement that they were cooperating with the ministry in the probe.
“We remain committed as a school to the values of Islam and of our nation and we refuse any abuse of them,” the school said. “During the third student creativity festival hosted by the school annually, one of the schools staged a singing show in which they included verses from the Holy Quran, despite the call by the organising committee to abide by the regulations.”
The school said that it had often sponsored and organised festivals and refused the claims and allegations targeting it “without verifying the accuracy and credibility of the information that was circulated.”
On Wednesday, the Public Prosecution said it had ordered a student and his two music teachers to be held in custody pending further investigation.
The three suspects face charges of profaning Islam and disrespecting its rituals, the Northern Governorate Chief Prosecutor Adnan Fakhro said.
The custody was decided following a probe into a video footage posted on social media websites and after an administrative investigation launched by the Education Ministry confirmed the incident, he said.
The Public Prosecution questioned the student and the two teachers who had trained him while school officials and the competition jury were also summoned for questioning.
Islamic tradition and jurisprudence are very strict about using Quranic verses in a non-religious context.
In December, Al Azhar’s High Authority for Islamic Studies stated that singing Quranic verses with music was forbidden in Islamic jurisprudence.
Al Azhar, issued the statement in response to reports about an Indonesian opera company that sang Quranic verses with an orchestra.
The highest authority for Sunnis explained that the Quran was the Book of God available to those who sought wisdom and that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) urged Muslims to recite it in a manner that conveys its meaning.
“Recitation differs from singing and singing the Quran to a tune is forbidden,” Al Azhar said. “Adding a music tune makes the Quran comparable to songs and reduces the capacity of the readers and listeners to understand the true meaning of the verses.”