Nazareth Group performs at Birzeit in solidarity with Marcel Khalife

The Cultural Committee of the Birzeit University Student Council hosted a performance by the Tawfiq Zayid Group from Nazareth on Tuesday 2 November in solidarity with Lebanese musician and composer Marcel Khalife.

Charges have been brought against Khalife by the Lebanese judicial authorities because of his song "Oh My Father, I am Yusif," released in 1995. He has been accused of debasing Islam through singing a Koranic verse, however, Khalife's supporters have argued that this is a violation of intellectual freedom and that the song is based on a published poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. The song is dedicated to the people of Lebanon and Palestine, referring symbolically to their suffering, using the narrative of the Prophet Joseph's famous story.

A large number of students and staff attended the performance on Tuesday and were treated to songs by Marcel Khalife. The song, "Ana Yusuf" which has been at the centre of the charges brought against Khalife received strong applause when it was played by the Tawfic Zayid Group.

Lutfi Nwaiser, from Nazareth, addressed the audience and stressed the connection between Palestinians from the West Bank and those within the 1948 borders. "We are all the same people" he told the audience.