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Eboo Patel

Interfaith Resistance

Interfaith Resistance

by Eboo Patel

No doubt American presidents play a significant role in articulating the character of the nation by offering new definitions of its key symbols.

Obama's Final Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge

Obama's Final Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge

by Ruth Broyde Sharone

Eboo Patel’s question rang out in Elstad Auditorium on the final day of the Sixth Annual President’s Interfaith Community Service Campus Challenge, held this year in September at Gallaudet University in Washington DC. Founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core, and one of the principal architects of the Campus Challenge, Patel posed that key question to some 600 participants: students, professors, university presidents and interfaith activists

Featuring Eboo Patel

Featuring Eboo Patel
This year TIO has devoted its March-July issues highlighting a handful of contributors who have made a special mark in the interfaith community and been particularly generous in contributing to this journal. This month we are happy to share the work of Eboo Patel, a 41-year-old Muslim who grew up in Chicago, did his PhD at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, then founded the Interfaith Youth Core. Today IFYC has a staff of 45, a $6.5 million annual budget, and a laser-like focus on developing interfaith leadership in the confines of higher education in the United States.

New Rooms in the Interfaith Movement

New Rooms in the Interfaith Movement
IN THE OPENING SESSION of an Interfaith Youth Core conference a few years ago, a Chicago pastor took the microphone and introduced himself. He spoke about how much he had gained from his Buddhist meditation practice, expressed disdain for Republicans in power, and proclaimed how excited he was to be in a friendly space with people of other faiths. Finally, he noted his frustration that a particular type of Christian was always absent from such gatherings, saying:

What We Can Learn from the Same-Sex Seating Controversy

What We Can Learn from the Same-Sex Seating Controversy
A recent New York Times story on the tension caused when Orthodox Jewish men request same-sex seating on airlines for religious reasons generated over 3,000 reader responses. The scenario as described in the story generally unfolds something like this: the individual reaches his assigned seat and finds that the seat next to him is occupied by a woman. He shifts uncomfortably in the aisle until the flight attendant or an alert passenger recognizes what’s going on and asks the woman to switch seats with a male so the Orthodox Jew may have his religious views accommodated. Often the woman is offended; sometimes she refuses to move. This has made for many challenging situations and some flight delays.

The New Identity Politics of Religion

The New Identity Politics of Religion
As an undergraduate in the early 1990s, the heyday of identity politics, I was a full-throated participant in the protests for cultural centers and academic study programs that focused on racial and ethnic minorities.

In Promoting Campus Diversity, Don’t Dismiss Religion

In Promoting Campus Diversity, Don’t Dismiss Religion
A few weeks back, I was on a campus visit to the University of California at Los Angeles, where I first heard the story of Rachel Beyda. A pre-law sophomore, she applied for a seat on UCLA’s student Judicial Board and found her various identities an area of focus in the interview process.

Training Interfaith Leaders for the Future

“Say you wake up one morning and as you’re going through your Twitter feed you see something that really ticks you off because it degrades a certain group of people. You can Tweet all your friends about it, post something on Facebook, take a selfie of you burning the article. You can send a campus-wide Tweet and email about meeting in the dining hall at noon to discuss an action plan. You have one person contact the president, another person get in touch with the events office, another other clubs, the geeky guy in the corner (that would be me) making a flyer and deciding the best phrase to use in the Twitter hashtag, and by 6 p.m. you have an event planned to address the issue.

Elizabethtown Initiating a Major in Interfaith Leadership

Inspired by a national call from Interfaith Youth Core founder Eboo Patel, Elizabethtown College is the first in the United States to offer a major in interfaith leadership studies (ILS). The major, confirmed by Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core to be the first, is heavily supported by Patel, who has been a member of President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.

Why is the Parliament of the World’s Religions Important?

Anyone who has attended one or more of the modern Parliaments (starting with the 1993 centennial celebration in Chicago) comes away with a multitude of stories and new friendships. Being with thousands of interfaith activists, by itself, tends to change your perspective on the world. TIO asked leaders from the interfaith movement to share with us briefly what they think is important about the Parliament of the World’s Religions. For a longer response, see Marcus Braybrooke’s reflection in this TIO on attending all the modern Parliaments.

On Being a Muslim Parent

Last year, as I was unpacking my son’s school backpack, I found the children’s book on the Prophet Muhammad that my wife and I read to him at night. He had brought it to school without telling us. “It was for show and tell,” he explained to me.

The Shifting Terrain of Interfaith Relationship

TIO: As a second-generation American Muslim, raised in Chicago, with a doctorate from Oxford, you are an examplar of meeting the challenge of growing up in one culture and navigating the culture we share today. Your books unpack the complexities of ‘growing up Muslim in America’ beautifully, vividly. And today you relate to thousands of young people in American universities and colleges, coming into constant contact with second-generation religious minorities. Could you share the biggest challenges they face collectively?

Interfaith Fundraising: How to Make it Work

An Interview with Eboo Patel

Foreword to Faithiest: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious

There is a moment in the middle of Faitheist that nearly took my breath away. Chris is living in Bemidji, a small town in northern Minnesota near the headwaters of the Mississippi river. The nearest big city is Fargo, and it is several hours away. In the winter, the snow piles up so high he can’t see out of the bedroom window in his garden apartment.

Sacred Ground by Eboo Patel: A Review

With Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America, Eboo Patel establishes himself as the preeminent voice of the interfaith movement. The book is about the “promise of American pluralism,” because, “Simply put, it is people who have protected the promise of pluralism from the poison of prejudice.” Patel unabashedly notes that “the main character” in this book “is the one I love the most – America.”

Peacemaking – Seeking, Finding, Starting

Turning the final page of Eboo Patel’s Acts of Faith, I felt what only comes from finishing a great book: a mixture of equal parts exhilaration and disappointment that it’s over. Patel is an engaging writer with an intriguing personal story, and the major ideas encapsulated in his book spoke to me on a very basic level.

Finding Your Voice in an Interfaith World

I was sitting in my apartment in Jerusalem, hiding from the world. A war was raging a hundred miles south of me, and another seemed likely to start a hundred miles to the north. I felt unable to impact the situation at all.

Eboo Patel – Spokesperson in the Making

Born in 1975, Eboo Patel grew up in Chicago, raised in a Muslim family that had immigrated to America’s urban Midwest from central India when he was a toddler. He grew up a high achiever, eventually taking his doctorate in religion from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. His “big idea” of an Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) was conceived in 1998 during a United Religions Initiative planning conference at Stanford University. In 2002 the new organization was incorporated.

Interfaith Youth Core

The big idea for the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) came to our leading founder Eboo Patel in 1998 when he was at an interfaith conference at Stanford University. He and a small group of his peers realized they were the only young people at the conference, and their conversation turned to two questions.