Qawwals

The Cordoba Initiative and The Brotherhood Synagogue brought their communities together to celebrate their cultures with a night of Qawwali Music.

On May 21 this year, The Cordoba Initiative teamed up with The Brotherhood Synagogue to host the Qawwali and the Spiritual Alchemy of Music event. The event was held at the Brotherhood Synagogue chapel, creating a fusion of music, culture, and inter-faith discussion. Over 200 members of various faiths, including Sikhs, Christians, Shia and Sunni Muslims, Jews, and Hindus, came together to celebrate a message of “Divine love” and common humanity. The event kicked off with an open discussion between the chairman of Cordoba Initiative, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, and the Jewish singer/songwriter, Basaya Schechter, on the “fusion of cultures and music in America”.

The Cordoba Initiative was founded in 2004 with the aim to improve Muslim-West relationships. They aid in the development of solutions to combat extremism in religion, and solve issues that religion and Islam are held accountable for. The group sponsors the American Muslim Identity to encourage Muslims’ major roles in today’s American society while maintaining their religious values and culture.

The event illustrated the deep-seated importance in music for all cultures, yet primarily for Jews and Muslims. For Islam and Judaism, music is evoked in prayers, readings, weddings, births, and many other occasions. The Master of Ceremonies, Asma Jamil Sadiq MD, is known for her active promotion toward Qawwali, inter/intra-faith dialogue and general cultural understanding and awareness. She is also the event adviser for the Faith and Community Affairs in The Cordoba Initiative. After the discussion, the music began. Basaya kicked things off with a beautiful performance of Jewish songs. She, Abu Mohammed Qawwali group and Farid Ayaz followed up with a multi-performance fusing the different musical cultures. The importance of Qawwali music was thoroughly highlighted during the performance, and many attendants felt touched and even changed through the event. Preconceived notions and ideals were altered, aiming toward a deeper understanding among religions.

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