Story By: Kathryn Quinn, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A Swiss school has sparked controversy after it banned certain Christian songs from its Christmas party so as not to offend other cultures.
The Director of the school in Wil, which is located in the canton of St. Gallen, Switzerland reportedly sent an email to all teachers saying that three songs would be banned from this year’s Christmas party “out of respect for other cultures and religions”.
The teachers were also told that all other songs and activities had to be planned for “all cultures’ needs to be able to relate to the songs and activities.”
The banned songs are ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain’, ‘Frohliche Weihnacht uberall’ (a German carol saying Merry Christmas All Around’ and ‘grooschte Gschank’ – (The Biggest Gift, a German song). All three songs are about celebrating the birth of Jesus.
The decision follows alleged complaints following songs at last year’s Christmas advent concert.
A father allegedly stood up during the Christmas concert and complained about one of the songs during the performance claiming there were more Muslims in the class than Christians.
Following the incident, the previous school director left.
According to an insider at the school: “Now there is a new school director and they probably don’t want to skate on thin ice again with this topic. The teachers were not involved in this decision.”
Tobias Mattes from the school said: “A team of people are planning the party this year. it will be discussed how everyone can be integrated into the activities.
“We have had some suggestions and these will be discussed. Traditional songs like Silent Night can still be included.”
However, Swiss Islamic organisations reacted with surprise at the school’s decision to ban the songs.
Farhad Afshar, president of a Swiss Islamic organisation said: “From our side, we find it sad when Christian songs can no longer be sung in a school in a Christian country.”
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