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Excerpts from Interfaith Leadership: A Primer

Excerpts from Interfaith Leadership: A Primer
Below are excerpts from the opening and closing of the Introduction to Interfaith Leadership: A Primer, a new book from Eboo Patel being published by Beacon Press this August. Copyright by Eboo Patel.

Challenging Evangelical Assumptions

Evangelicals face enormous challenges in the pluralistic public square in the 21st century, especially among Muslims. Suspicion and fear of Muslims exist in many quarters as a result of 9/11 and other radical Muslim acts of terror in places like Spain and London and some bad habits about how most of us absorb news. We firmly believe that radical Muslims do not represent the majority of Muslims in the West, who have repeatedly disavowed terrorism. Clearly, most Muslims in the U.S. seek to live out their Muslim faith in ways that affirm and resonate with American values.

Interfaith Relations: Do the Math!

Albert and Tony were best friends who grew up in each other’s homes. Albert’s Jewish mother sent him off to school each day with the question, “Albert, do you have your books?” Tony’s Italian mother sent him off to school each morning with the query, “Tony, do you have your lunch?”

Dealing with Religion’s Messiness

Several years ago during a guest lecture on Islam, one of our Evangelical seminary students asked the president of a local mosque if Muslims did not feel any remorse over what al-Qaida had done on 9/11. He also wanted to know if Muslims did not cherish freedom and affirm human dignity. The mosque president immediately reacted to the student, pointedly calling to mind what he saw as American imperialistic policies that supported dictatorial regimes in the Middle East. The Muslim leader argued that America and Western Christianity had filth on its hands, too. The mud-slinging from both sides got us nowhere. It only exposed how messy our religions are.