Pianist and composer Zade Dirani was visiting his native Jordan when he saw news of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“We were really horrified,” said Dirani, a Muslim now residing in Los Angeles. “I knew I had to take it upon myself to reach out, to go back and share my culture and my part of the world through my music.”

Dirani is doing just that this week in Louisville, leading workshops and presentations at schools, houses of worship, libraries and other sites along with a cast of musicians from throughout the world.

The goal of the “Roads to You” program, which culminates in a concert Saturday night that will include local student musicians, is to foster understanding among Americans, Arabs and Muslims.

“You have a minority that hijacked the name of our religion, that killed innocent people in the name of God,” he said. “It’s atrocious ”¦ and we should not let the minority win.”

At the same time, Dirani said he wanted to respond to Americans who reacted negatively to Arabs and Muslims after the attacks.

“I’m not only able to share my cultural heritage, but to bring back to Jordan stories of kindness and generosity” on the part of Americans, he said.

The event is being sponsored by the Center for Interfaith Relations, the Muhammad Ali Center and Louisville metro government’s Office for International Affairs.


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