Synopsis

Out of Cordoba is a feature documentary about Jews, Muslims, and Christians struggling for coexistence and against the hijacking of their respective religions by extremists. The film profiles several contemporary people of faith, who, inspired by two “wise men” from the city of Cordoba in medieval Spain — Averroes the Muslim, and Rabbi Moses Maimonides the Jew — are challenging the propositions that there is an inevitable “clash of civilizations” between the West and the Muslim world, an incompatibility between Islam and democracy, and an unsolvable conflict between Muslims and Jews.

Out of Cordoba is also the story of the film’s director, Jacob Bender, an American Jew and peace activist, as he undertakes a journey around the Mediterranean world after the attacks of 9/11 — in Spain, Morocco, France, Egypt, Palestine, and Israel — following in the footsteps of these two “wise men of Cordoba” in search of Muslims, Jews, and Christians committed to utilizing their religious traditions as sources of tolerance, democracy, and human rights. Among the extraordinary people encountered by the director is a Muslim leader in Spain who declares a “fatwa” against Osama bin Laden after the Al-Qaeda attacks at the Madrid train station; the foreign minister of Spain, who finds inspiration for his diplomacy in the legacy of Averroes and Maimonides; a Jewish physician in Morocco, one of the last Jewish doctors in the Arab world; Egyptian human rights activists, inspired by Averroes, who are attempting to democratize their country; a rabbi in Israel who defends Palestinian homes against demolition by the Israeli army; and an art historian decoding the secrets of one of the most enigmatic of Renaissance paintings.

The story of these courageous people in Out of Cordoba offer hope that religion need not be only a justification of hatred, but can also be a source of tolerance, justice, and peace.

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