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Inspired by secular Islam, Mehmet Ali Sanlikol writes new choral work / HUFFPOST

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I have been living in Boston since 1993 where I had the great fortune of completing my Master's and Doctoral degrees at the wonderfully diverse environment of New England Conservatory. However, I was born in Istanbul in 1974 and grew up in Bursa, Turkey, where I lived until I was 18 years old. My parents were Turkish Cypriots who grew up under the British in Cyprus and, as Muslims, their relationship with Islam was more cultural than devotional. When growing up, my father would only take me to the mosque a couple of times during Ramadan. Praying five times a day was not required in our household and fasting during Ramadan was just occasional. That being said, religious holidays were very much acknowledged as were religious ceremonies to honor the dead. The kind of secular profile I am describing was, and still is, common among millions of Muslims. Obviously, the terror attacks by ISIS and other extremists during recent years have prompted fear and paranoia toward all Muslims in the US and Europe. And, as a result, I see that a stereotype has taken over the media with covered Muslim women and men sitting over prayer rugs.

Words by Composer, Performer and Scholar - Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, World-Renowned Musician and Co-Director of New England Conservatory's Intercultural Institute (ICI).        READ THE FULL HUFFPOST ARTICLE