Posted February 05, 2019 07:00:48 Syrian singer Omar Al-Bakri has made history by becoming the first female rapper to sing in the Syrian national anthem.
His music, which includes tracks from his forthcoming album, Is It Love?, has sparked controversy in Syria and has been viewed by many as a violation of the countrys constitution.
The 35-year-old singer, who is known for her dark, gritty vocals, told CNN she wanted to “show my countrymen and women that they can sing,” without fear of reprisal.
“It’s a song about my country, about my culture, about what I’m living through and about the struggle I’ve had for many years,” she said.
“I want my country to know that I’m still alive and alive to continue singing.”
Al-Bekri’s song was performed on Monday (local time) as part of a public service for Syria’s independence anniversary, the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported.
In the song, which was sung by a Syrian orchestra, the singer, dressed in a black gown, was joined by the other performers of the orchestra and the musicians of the Syrian Arab Liberation Army, or SARC.
Al-Quds, a Syrian opposition group, called the performance a violation and called for Al-Barakri to be deported.
“This is not a song for women, it’s a message to all Syrian women and men,” said Quds spokesperson Samir Abu Khaled.
“It’s very important that you sing and it’s very unfortunate that someone who has sung it has been deported.”
The concert took place as President Bashar al-Assad and his family gathered for a state visit to Turkey in which Turkey is accused of supporting the opposition.
Syrian opposition groups are calling for Al Jazeera to remove Al-Qarsi from its newsroom roster.
“If the Turkish authorities want to remove a female singer from its list, then they should remove this artist from its ranks as well,” Quds spokesman Samir told Al Jazeera.
“I do not know what’s going on with her, but it seems she is a singer who sings songs of defiance, and is a person who is in good terms with the Syrian government and the Syrian people,” he added.
But the head of Al Jazeera in Syria, Ahmed Rasoul, told Al Arabiya News channel that the singer was performing her song as part-time work.
“She is a very talented singer and I am sure she will continue to do so.
She has her work to do and will continue doing that,” he said.
The SARC was formed in January 2018 to fight against “terrorism”, and has a membership of about 3,000 people.
It has not publicly acknowledged the singer’s song, but Al Jazeera reported that the SARC did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.
Syria’s state media has not yet confirmed the singer will be deported but is known to be sympathetic to the Syrian opposition, with many of its members accused of involvement in fighting in Syria.
A SARC spokesperson told Al Sharq al-Awsat on Sunday that Al-Maghribi had been released from detention and will be reunited with her family in Turkey, Al Jazeera and other media reported.