Cordoba regularly engages in interfaith cultural activities. A highlight has been the “The Spiritual Alchemy of Music” series, which was held at St. Bart’s Church and Brotherhood Synagogue in New York.
Music has played and continues to play a central role in the formation and evolution of identities and cultures. On the one hand, musical innovation is often sparked by the fusion of different cultures and identities. On the other hand, music serves as a catalyst for the intermingling of different identities and the creation of new ones. “The Spiritual Alchemy of Music” performances are dedicated to a celebration and an appreciation of the important role that music has played in both Islamic and Jewish history.
“The Spiritual Alchemy of Music” seeks to foster an increased intermingling of Muslim and Jewish cultures in America. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the founder and chairman of Cordoba House, and Basya, a Jewish performer and a cantor-in-training discussed the fusion of cultures and music in America. Basya and her trio performed a number of Jewish songs. Then, together with Farid Ayaz and the Abu Mohammed Qawwals from Pakistan, Basya performed a piece of musical fusion, demonstrating the power and opportunities laden in this creation. Finally, the Qawwals performed the Mehfil-e Sama (Sufi Devotional Music).
These unique types of cultural interfaith evenings serve as an invitation and a call to action to increase Muslim-Jewish interfaith dialogue and action in New York City and around the United States.