Lines of Faith
Lines of Faith is a unique collaboration put together by Mohammed Yahya and Danny Raphael.
Both artists are committed practitioners of their respective religions – Mohammed is a Muslim and Daniel is Jewish. Lines of Faith is a fusion of Islamic and Jewish ideas, words and music with jazz, blues, reggae, funk and hip hop.
Both Daniel and Mohammed are also youth-workers and creative educators who have been involved in community work for many years, and also offer creative workshops for young people involving poetry and rap.
Lines of Faith is an initiative focused on bringing the ancient traditions of both peoples alive in a way that highlights the common ground of the two communities as well as all humanity - something that seems very necessary in the current climate! They speak to the Muslim Institute about their project:
How did Lines of Faith come together? Mohammad Yahya: I got together with Daniel after being advised to meet him by Professor Michael Mumisa of Cambridge University who was teaching Daniel Muslim/Jewish Relations in Cambridge and teaching me Islamic Jurisprudence in London. He realised that we both had a lot in common and were trying to achieve similar goals so he suggested that we get together, which we did.
How would you describe your work? Mohammed Yahya: I would describe our work as creative activism, Music with a message and a living example of how Muslims and Jews can work side by side.
Did your collaboration alter your perception of Muslims and Islam? Danny Raphael: My relationship with Mohammed is the deepest relationship I've ever had with a Muslim. We can talk about anything, even very difficult personal and political issues, so before this there were many areas where I was simply ignorant of how Muslims might approach many questions of religious, communal, personal and political life. Through my relationship with Mohammed, I understand that there are many different approaches within Islam, but also how they all relate to certain core values.
Does your music have a message? Mohammed Yahya: Definitely, the message is peace, love, respect and understanding - especially between the Muslim and Jewish community. In order for us to reach all those things we first need to look at the problems that currently exist from both perspectives in order to understand the root of the problem and the ultimate solution.
What inspires you to make music? Danny Raphael: It's just part of my 'Avodat Hashem' or service of G-d. I need to do it like I need to pray. It's actually the same process.
How have Lines of Faith been received by Muslim and Jewish audiences? Mohammed Yahya: The majority of the feedback has been amazing; very supportive and encouraging, I think people can relate to our aim of trying to establishing peace between both communities. Unfortunately there is a small percentage in my own community that still don’t understand the importance of the work we do and would rather see me work only within my own Muslim community only but the reality is I belong to a Diverse Global community so for me this work is just as important. Danny Raphael: Same for me - mostly I receive very positive feedback, but a few people are still not understanding that fear is simply another obstacle to overcome.
What does the future holds for interfaith relations? Danny Raphael: Either we'll wake up in time to replace our fear with love, and build a just world, or we'll destroy ourselves and this planet in name of the Creator.
Mohammed and Daniel enjoy running rap/poetry workshops in schools, community centres and camps for young people - please contact them for more info by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.