Today is July 29, 2021 -

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Notes From Our Cantor

Cantor Cattan’s latest article from our TCS Bulletin:

It is the week after the horrible shootings at the New Zealand mosques.  A small but meaningful delegation from all faiths gathers at  Norwalk’s Al- Madany Islamic Center.  As worshipers walk in for the Friday noon prayers, they stop to thank us for our support and presence.

Prayers begin, we enter, take our shoes off and walk slowly to the sacred area of the building, a large space covered with a green carpet with arabesque patterns. People kneel next to each other in almost perfect parallel rows. The sounds are familiar, but the language is not. The musical motifs of the prayer leader resonate as some of our own prayer motifs.  There is a tension between familiarity and otherness. The Imam – the Islamic spiritual leader- is known to us. He came to TCS and extended his prayer at the community memorial for the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting.

His sermon in a broken English, yet clear and assertive language, expressed the connection between all the violent attacks perpetrated against houses of worship and thus defined ourselves as one. What happened in New Zealand is not an isolated act, he said. It happened in Pittsburgh, in Charlottesville too. We are all together in this. This is not about Muslim, Jews, and Christians. This is about evil people that want to destroy the faith of those who believe in God. This is the evil non- believers against the believers.

We also met Yousuf, whose brother, Hussain, was one of the victims of the shootings. He was there with us, bursting in tears. At the end we hugged. No words were needed. Hugs are universal and powerful. He knew we wanted to comfort him.

The words of the Imam and the thankful reactions of the worshipers reflected unity and togetherness, which deepened my faith and provided me with a sense of hope for a future of peace. I pray that more leaders like him come forward with an assertive voice to prove that we can care for each other and counterbalance the radical forces that set us apart. It is our duty to be there to open our hearts to dialog and understanding so we can aspire to a world in peace.


Cantor Luis Cattan

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