Living in Harmony: Music, Memory and Encounters between Jewish, Muslim and Christian Neighbours

The Living in Harmony investigation centred on two cities: Aleppo in Syria and Baghdad in Iraq. Aleppo and Baghdad were chosen because of their historic cosmopolitanism, as seen in the evidence of close association among Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities. Researchers explored if a reminder of this shared past, especially through music and the Arabic language, contributed toward shaping an intercommunal present within Baghdadi and Aleppian, more properly known as Halabi, communities in diaspora.

Various faith communities lived together for centuries in the Middle East, fostering and facilitating the borrowing, adapting and integrating of traditions into a shared local culture. In diaspora, this shared local culture - in theory - carries on through the various community groups coming out of Syria and Iraq. This transmission and influence is what the Living in Harmony project investigated, with a particular emphasis on the cultural domain of music.

The research, generously funded by the KC Shasha Charitable Foundation and Dangoor Education, led to the Living in Harmony Programme.


Dunya Habash,'"Do Like You Did in Aleppo": Negotiating Space and Place Among Syrian Musicians in Istanbul'. Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol. 34, No.2 (June 2021): 1370-1386.

Merav Rosenfeld-Hadad. Judaism and Islam One God One Music: The History of Jewish Paraliturgical Song in the Context of Arabo-Islamic Culture as Revealed in its Jewish Babylonian Sources. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2019.

Blog entries

Musical Convergence: Past Traditions and Modern Realities

The Sounds and Sights of Interfaith Promise

Academic Events

Workshop: Roots, Diaspora, and Belonging - A Musical Exploration

Workshop: Encounter Culture

Workshop and Recital: Maqam & Oud: Faith and Music in the Middle East

Public Events

Yair Dalal and Ahmed Mukhtar at the Ismaili Centre

Yair Dalal and Ahmed Mukhtar: Concert and Discussion

Film Night: Ballad for Syria

Medieval Mystics in Conversation: An Evening of Mystical Poetry and Sacred Chant