July 30, 2010The Honorable Michael Bloomberg Mayor of New York City City Hall York, New York 10007
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
On behalf of The Interfaith Center of New York, I am writing to thank you for your strong support of the Cordoba House initiative spearheaded by a member of our Board of Directors, Imam Feisal Rauf and his wife, Daisy Kahn. As a friend of the Interfaith Center of New York since our founding in 1997 and a leader in interfaith work in New York and around the world for decades, the Interfaith Center of New York joins religious leaders from a across the City in working with Imam Feisal and Daisy Kahn to do what we can to help them achieve their goals of a community center and prayer space that will enable Muslim Communities in New York City serve people of all faith traditions and enrich the City.
The Interfaith Center of New York (ICNY) is an educational non-profit organization that works with hundreds grassroots religious leaders from fifteen different faith traditions throughout New York City. For over a decade, ICNY has worked to build relationships between immigrant and disenfranchised religious communities in New York (including Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jews, and Native Americans). ICNY provides forums through which religious leaders educate teachers, city officials, social workers, and judges to help civic leaders better understand the diverse religious constituencies that they serve. In addition to the religious communities themselves, our partners include The New York Unified Court System, UJA Federation, The Harlem Community Justice Center, The Queens Mediation Center, and Catholic Charities.
In 2004, Imam Feisal and Daisy Kahn received the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award–joining Nobel Laureates from Archbishop Desmund Tutu and Shirin Ebadi to artists like Phillipe Petite, and political leaders like President William Jefferson Clinton. He spoke frequently at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and at numerous churches and synagogues around the city as a voice for tolerance, understanding, and cooperation both before and after 9/11. In November of 2001, Imam Feisal joined Karen Armstrong and others at a public event at the Cathedral on “Fundamentalism in Islam Christianity and Judaism” His wife Daisy, put together the first ever Muslim American Artists response to 9/11 that displayed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine later that year. Due to their work in interfaith work and peacebuilding, Imam Feisal was invited to join the board of directors at the interfaith Center of New York in 2006.
Your continued leadership in this case on behalf of New Yorkers of all faith traditions—both to express their religious traditions and also give back to the wider community as a whole is critical not only for the individuals directly involved in Cordoba house but for any New Yorker who seeks to express his or her faith tradition freely and with a sense of the importance of the public good.
The Rev. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director