KC Young People Reach Out for Interfaith Understanding

October 30, 2009

Author: Bill Tammeus

Source: The Kansas City Star


The thermometer said 97 that fierce day in late June. The sun was pitiless.

So the group of youths (with adult helpers) planning some interfaith events found refuge in the back of the Foo’s custard shop at 95th and Mission, spooning down triple-threat chocolate concretes and sundaes covered with snappy raspberries. 

Federico Zepeda was there. He’s Jewish and attends Shawnee Mission East High School. Fatima Chaudhri was there, too. She’s a Muslim student at Johnson County Community College. Among the regulars missing that day was Avanthi Chatrathi, a Hindu who attends Notre Dame de Sion High School and is a member of its Interfaith Club. 

All those young people — and many more in the Kansas City area — share a passion: They think the world’s future depends on people of different faiths understanding one another in enough depth not to hate. They are in the vanguard of an interfaith movement that seeks not a lowest-common-denominator religion but, rather, people of many (and some of no) faiths who are willing to know others and to be known themselves.