By Religions for Peace USA Staff
YOUNG MUSICIANS BUILDING PEACE BRIDGES
What is truly amazing about Heartbeat is not their music. It is the way they make their music. A group of ten 14-22 year-olds, all but one Israeli citizens, often proclaim that their music is simply a medium for a deeper message. Clearly inspired by a desire to love across boundaries of race, religion, and ethnicity, the members proudly observe that what they are doing is anathema in many of their home communities. They are embracing the other in a way that is both constructive and creative.
The Our Muslim Neighbor (OMN) initiative, a public education campaign to end anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia in Middle Tennessee, helped sponsor this Heartbeat’s visit to Nashville on March 17. The trip included community dialogues, art-making sessions, and an evening concert by Heartbeat. Attracting hundreds of people throughout the day, these young people offered an alternative to the typical interfaith dialogue forum. Their stories were carried on their songs. As they sang of division and hatred, they asked the crowd to look to their own community and sow seeds of love over conflict. Here in “Music City,” the group’s form was definitely at home.
Heartbeat is a small example of the innovative work that OMN is promoting in Middle Tennessee. Working across sectors to bring all sides of the community together to create a more welcoming community, OMN works to build understanding of Muslims and Islam in Middle Tennessee. Its hope – to make anti-Muslim bigotry socially unacceptable in Tennessee.
Heartbeat’s message of unity and not uniformity is crucial to OMN’s work, where we seek not to water down differences but highlight how religious and ethnic differences enrich our communities.
For more information on OMN, please check our website, here.