How Interfaith Arts Build Bridges Between Abrahamic Faiths

Daisy Khanfounder of WISE also co-founded American Society of Muslim Advancement  in 1997 to elevate the discourse on Islam and to build bridges between American Muslims and the American publicMs. Khan employed the following tactics in reaching out to non-Muslims 

  • Firstly, explain to Americans that Islam relates itself to Jews and Christians, not only as humans, but as heirs of the Semitic traditions and share Abraham as the Patriarch.  
  • Secondly, when conflicts arise in the name of religion strong religious voices must characterize the conflict for what it is and distance religion from it. 

Ms. Khan has observed that throughout history, harmonious interfaith relations have existed between the world’s great religions, and at a time when many believe there is a “clash” between the West and the Muslim world, Ms. Khan challenged this wrong belief by increasing collaboration between the Abrahamic faith traditions to forge personal bonds to strengthen our social fabric and make possible cooperative efforts where priorities overlap. 

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Daisy Khan, a Muslim of American Society for Muslim Advancement worked with Sarah Brokus, a Christian of The Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, Eileen Weiss, and a Jewish woman of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun worked to confront the looming tension post 9/11 head-on. In an effort to understand the many unanswered questions the public had about 9/11, Sarah Brokus and Eileen Weiss, Daisy Khan stepped forward to heal the divide. 

They formed a coalition to create a theatrical production for healing titled, SAME DIFFERENCENYC Faith Stories in Words, Music and Dance.” Taken from over 100 one-on one interviews with New Yorkers representing many faiths and many cultural, economic, and geographic, SAME DIFFERENCE gave the interviewees chance to express their private and personal feelings and the audiences an opportunity to hear the true, uncensored voices of New Yorkers speaking about life before and after September 11.   

Interview Process

Over 100 one-on one interviews with New Yorkers of different backgrounds brought life to the Same Difference.

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Writing Process

A team of interfaith playwrights and a musician culled 2,500 pages of interviews into a 35-page play with all words coming directly from the interviews themselves.

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Creative Process

Interviews in play include topics ranging from funny food and faith stories to interfaith marriages, to post-9/11 traumas, to media’s responsibility, to the current situation in the Middle East, and more.

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The Impact

Same Difference has the capacity to change communities at the grass roots level and beyond.

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