SHAFAQNA – While faith reporter Bill Tammeus’ spiritual journey began decades ago in Kansas City, Missouri, his desire to learn more about Islam is a fairly new one.
“This began for me on 9/11 when my own nephew was murdered,” explained the now retired Kansas City Star journalist. “He was a passenger on the first plane to actually hit the World Trade Center, so for professional reasons and personal reasons, I had to understand Islam better.”
Now he’s working to help Kansas City better understand the religion.
“We really wanted to explore the spiritual, not political, discussions associated with Islam,” explained Jim Stott, who helped Tammeus create a class for the Second Presbyterian congregation that dives into what Islam and more specifically the Qur’an teach.
The church’s pastor, the Rev. Kristin Riegel, will attend each of the meetings as well.
“This class came from the congregation itself,” she said. “It came from people who were sitting in the pews saying, ‘We want to learn about our neighbors who are here in Kansas City.'”
For six weeks, local Imams will come to Second Presbyterian to teach the Christian congregation how the Qur’an is used by Muslims, how it should be interpreted and how to build interfaith relationships between people of all faiths.
“Given the changes in our culture and the religious landscape in the us, it’s really important to have the best base of knowledge about other faiths, as well as our own,” said Tammeus.