Forty Christian, Jewish and Muslim teens gathered on Saturday, April 22, to observe each other’s cultures and hike together for the seventh annual Peace Summit at Otey Memorial Parish Episcopal Church in Sewanee, Tennessee.
“We tell kids this is what you believe in, this is what you’re supposed to do, and we don’t really require them to think about why they believe in something,” said Sabina Mohyuddin, an organizer of Peace Summit and a volunteer at the Islamic Center of Nashville. “With interfaith, you suddenly have to explain your faith. It makes you stop and think about why you practice these rituals in your faith. Why do you believe what you believe? I believe the kids are more than capable of really looking deeper into themselves and trying to understand the world around them.”
Mohyuddin said how the program is important because it creates future leaders who are understanding towards other cultures, since we are in a United States that is more divided every year.
“It will teach the youth more tolerance towards other religions and respecting what other people believe in,” said Austin Anderson, a junior studying political science. “It will help them develop skills to get along with others in the future.”
According to The Tennessean, the activity was a success as they all hiked and made new friends who were of different faiths.
“Thank you for organizing this,” said Zulfat Suara, the mother of Safiyah Suara, a youth who participated in the activity. “Safiyah had an amazing time. Getting teenagers to meet teens of other faith is very important in creating a more inclusive and accepting society. We had an interesting conversation on the way home.”