The Cordoba Initiative, a multi-national, multi-faith organization dedicated to improving Muslim-West relations, has teamed up with Manhattan’s Brotherhood Synagogue on improving Muslim-Jewish relations. This past Friday night they organized “A Night of Qawwali in a Synagogue” there.
Affiliated with the Conservative Movement and located near Manhattan’s Gramercy Park, the Brotherhood Synagogue hosted Pakistan’s musical ensemble Farid Ayaz and The Abu Mohammad Qawwals. There was also a performance by Jewish musician Basya Schechter, a native of Brooklyn, who is studying to be a Cantor.
The Cordoba Initiative, which fights against Islamophobia, held seven annual convenings of a global group of scholars representing the full spectrum of Islamic legal and political thought. “We have (1) achieved consensus on the definition of Islamic good governance and; (2) created an index to rate countries’ compliance with that definition, ” it boats.
It states that it is becoming a leading voice on moderation through Cordoba’s media appearances, Op-Eds, lectures, and publications, including books and articles.
It is establishing Cordoba House which is to be a space where people gather to identify ways to reverse the “downward spiral of fear and mistrust that is fueling extremism on all sides.”
In a Huffington Post blog, Cordoba’s Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf wrote, “As a universal language, music has a unique ability to gather and unite people. Since tunes and lyrics can directly tap into our hearts, music is often the most powerful vehicle for spiritual communication. In fact, both Islam and Judaism assign music a central role in spiritual devotion. Islamic Sufism and Jewish Hassidism both emphasize the importance of music and music is central to Islamic and Jewish lifecycle events. Aside from the distinctive music of the adhan (the Muslim call to prayer) and the Torah reading, both Islamic and Jewish births, weddings, and funerals are known for their special liturgical music.”
The Brotherhood Synagogue describes itself as a progressive congregation in the Conservative Jewish tradition. “We seek to meet the needs of American Jewry and to work towards making religious brotherhood a living reality. We invite all to share in the values and traditions of our Jewish faith, striving for the ways of peace and righteousness. “