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Eboo Patel
Named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Eboo Patel is the founder and Executive Director of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a Chicago-based institution building the global interfaith youth movement. Author of the award-winning book Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation, Eboo is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post, National Public Radio and CNN. He is a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.

Entries by Eboo Patel

Principled Pluralism: The Challenge Of Religious Diversity In 21st Century America

(178) Comments | Posted July 2, 2013 | 10:08 AM

The past twenty years have seen tremendous engagement around racial, cultural, and gender diversity. Millenials (ages 18-29) are generally knowledgeable about such identity differences and far better equipped to have a respectful, nuanced discussion of these issues than their parents and grandparents.

Can the same be said about religious...

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A New Play on Heschel

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2013 | 3:01 PM

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel has long been one of my faith heroes. I love the famous picture of Heschel with Martin Luther King Jr in Selma, and his line about that march feeling like prayer. I believe that his speech at Union Theological Seminary, No Religion is an Island, is...

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3 Reasons Interfaith Efforts Matter More Than Ever

(307) Comments | Posted April 23, 2013 | 10:29 AM

In the wake of the Boston attack and manhunt, I've been getting a lot of messages about how interfaith efforts matter more than ever, and I've sent out a volley of tweets expressing the same sentiment myself. So, does this view hold up to analysis, or is it just a...

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A Common Life Together

(93) Comments | Posted September 19, 2012 | 3:49 PM

"So which side are they on?" The question was part of a conversation I overheard on the street the other day, and it was in reference to people like me -- American Muslims.

As several of my country's embassies have been violently threatened by people of my faith, this seems...

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Sacred Ground: The Promise of America

(63) Comments | Posted August 14, 2012 | 8:07 AM

The following is an excerpt of Eboo Patel's new book, 'Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice and the Promise of America.'

In "What It Means to Be an American," Michael Walzer observes that political theorists since the Greeks believed that participatory politics could exist only in ethnically or religiously homogenous...

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Jane Addams Returns to Chicago

(0) Comments | Posted June 20, 2012 | 6:45 PM

This piece was co-written with Hana Suckstorff, Communications Associate at Interfaith Youth Core.

Nineteenth-century activist and community organizer Jane Addams once said, "Action indeed is the sole medium of expression for ethics." Her own life epitomized this ethic of civic participation. The settlement house for new immigrants that she...

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The Holiness of Common Ground

(7) Comments | Posted May 21, 2012 | 11:12 AM

Delivered at the Colgate University Baccalaureate.

In the early days of Islam, when the Muslim community was small and fledgling, and being harassed and hunted by the powerful tribes of Mecca, the Prophet Muhammad -8 may the Peace and Blessings of God be upon Him -- sent...

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My Neighbor's Faith: The Heroes I Was Looking For

(2) Comments | Posted May 21, 2012 | 7:13 AM

I spent my high school years in suburban Chicago dreaming of the future comforts of fat paychecks. When I went to college at the University of Illinois in Champaign, I saw the other America -- homeless Vietnam vets drinking mouthwash for the alcohol, minority students shunted to the back of...

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A Muslim Looks at King

(10) Comments | Posted January 13, 2012 | 2:17 PM

One of the great teachings in Islam is to learn from and respect the traditions of others while remaining committed to your own. The Quranic line that God made us different nations and tribes that we may come to know one another sums this up for me.

And one of...

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Attacking Mitt Romney, Attacking Faith

(176) Comments | Posted December 14, 2011 | 2:12 PM

Religious prejudice has become a major campaign issue during the Republican primaries this fall. Not surprisingly, it's the "M" word. Surprisingly, the M word in question is not "Muslim." While Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain have both made remarks about the alleged dangers of sharia law in American courts, the...

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9/11: Ten Years On

(0) Comments | Posted September 7, 2011 | 4:42 PM

Ten years on, I'm remembering the literature I read and the music that kept me going in the days and months after 9/11. I had Rumi and Whitman on my bedside table, reading them back to back, alternating between selections of the "Mathnawi" and poems from "Leaves of Grass", sometimes...

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His Holiness and the Art and Science of Interfaith Cooperation

(96) Comments | Posted July 18, 2011 | 10:27 AM

What's the Dalai Lama's secret? He's got over two million Twitter followers, people buy his books in droves, his speeches sell out stadiums. In a highly cynical age, he's held the public's attention for over two decades with some pretty elementary ideas: the essence of human nature is to be...

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America's Sacred Ground

(165) Comments | Posted July 2, 2011 | 11:01 AM

In 1630, John Winthrop sailed across the Atlantic Ocean seeking sacred ground. Hounded in England, the Puritans would be free to worship as they wished in the New World. A footnote in someone else's story over there, they would author their own destiny here. But Winthrop didn't expect the soil...

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Newt Gingrich: A Catholic Running Against Islam?

(95) Comments | Posted May 12, 2011 | 9:51 AM

Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and high-profile conservative intellectual, announced yesterday that he is officially in the running for the Republican nomination for president. Along the way he's been playing the politics of religion.

In the speeches and media appearances he did in preparation for his run,...

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After Bin Laden's Death: A Fist, a Heart and a Guitar

(5) Comments | Posted May 2, 2011 | 1:06 PM

As I listened to President Obama explain the chain of events that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, I couldn't help but think of my friend Eric Greitens. Eric's doctorate at Oxford was on the effects of war on children. Imagine my surprise when he told...

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Is This About American Muslims, Or America?

(27) Comments | Posted March 28, 2011 | 8:23 PM

Lately, Congress appears to be obsessed with Muslims.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is holding hearings Tuesday (March 29) on "Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims," and Chairman Peter King has announced a second set of hearings on "Radicalization in the American Muslim Community" in the House...

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The President's Campus Interfaith Initiative

(144) Comments | Posted March 17, 2011 | 6:20 PM

President Obama has made interfaith cooperation a priority from the beginning -- literally. In his inaugural address, he said:

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers. We are...
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From 9/11 to Jan. 25: America's Changing View Of Islam

(182) Comments | Posted February 18, 2011 | 8:31 PM

A few years ago I did a cable television interview on the youth bulge in majority-Muslim countries. It's a huge group, I told the anchor, and they have the potential to make a really positive contribution to the world.

The images played on the screen during my interview were of...

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Egypt, Tunisia and the Youth Revolt in the Middle East

(17) Comments | Posted January 28, 2011 | 2:35 PM

Davos, Switzerland -- Young people are upending the Middle East. They have both the numbers (approximately two-thirds of the Middle East is under 30) and the facility with the tools of 21st Century revolution (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) to do so.

It was young people shouting "death...

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Davos: The Global Village and the Local Community

(1) Comments | Posted January 26, 2011 | 4:25 PM

The World Economic Forum -- like the Clinton Global Initiative, the TED Conference, the Aspen Ideas Festival and other such global confabs -- is a carnival of ideas, opportunities, dreams and confessions.

It's less manic than CGI, not quite as laid back as TED, but definitely part of the same...

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