Topekans of various faiths gather for 1st meeting on co-existing

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- About 150 people gathered at a town hall meeting to hear local faith and community leaders discuss peaceful co-existence.

This panel of representatives of various faith based organizations in the Topeka community talked to topekans about merging the gaps between one another's faiths.

"We believe that dialogue and exchanging knowledge is a very good idea to get rid of all the myths and misconceptions that people have about the faith of Islam," said Deqa Rabile.

Deqa rabile is on the board at the islamic center of Topeka. She is one of the leaders of the first town meeting

"It's very important to have this so people can understand what a true Islam is and come to a conclusion of what this faith is all about. And the few people around the world do not represent us," said Rabile.

A question and answer session sparked discussion of recent acts of terrorism.

Panelists showed their united support for the muslim community--among them is pastor Tobias Schlingensiepen.

"I'm here because our doctores our lawyers our teachers our friends in the community I think are being unjustly viewed with suspicion and I think it's good that we come together to learn about each other's faith and encourage the kind of culture that we want to have here in Topeka, which is a very peaceful one," said Schlingensiepen, Pastor of First Congregational Church.

"We want people to know that we live in Topeka. We are your neighbors. We are with you supporting you in community issues that we have. We are a part of the society and we're here to build this country and make it a better place," said Rabile.

Schlingensiepen says there is room for a difference in Topeka and together we can make it happen.

"Topeka is precisely the kind of community that everyone in the room believes it is. We care about each other. We respect each other as neighbors and we want to be one community together," Schlingensiepen.

Rabile says she hopes won't be the last meeting and hopes to add panelists from more faith based organizations.