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Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, in the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation Paperback – July 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080700622X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807006221
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Patel, a former Rhodes scholar with a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford, is the founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that unites young people of different religions to perform community service and explore their common values. Patel argues that such work is essential, manifesting the faith line that will define the 21st century. Patel's own story is more powerful than the exhaustive examples he provides of how mainstream faith failed to reach young people like Osama bin Laden and Yighal Amir, the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin. With honesty, Patel relates how he suffered the racist taunts of fellow youth, and, in response, alternately rebelled against and absorbed the religion of his parents—Islam—but in his own way. Meanwhile, he continued to pursue interfaith work with vigor, not quite knowing his end goal but always feeling in his gut that interfaith understanding was the key. This autobiography of a young activist captures how an angry youth can be transformed—by faith, by the community and, most of all, by himself—into a profound leader for the cause of peace. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A beautifully written story of discovery and hope.”
—President Bill Clinton
 
“[A] visionary book, part coming-of-age memoir and part call-to-action . . . A shining vision of the possibilities of interfaith cooperation and pluralistic discourse.”  
—Adam Mansbach, The Boston Globe
 
“The best recent American statement about living one’s faith in a pluralistic society.”
Robin Lovin, Christian Century
 
“Remarkable . . . A well-written, compelling testimony to how one man is trying to ensure that different religions can live side by side in peace.”
—Paul Raushenbush, Beliefnet.com

“Eboo Patel is an exciting new voice of a new America: diverse but not divisive, hopeful but not utopian. He speaks for all of us from a rising generation of bright, brown, and bold Americans who have much to offer a country embarking on a new millennium and in need of new blood.”
—Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, executive director of the Zaytuna Institute

More About the Author

Named by US News & World Report as one of America's Best Leaders of 2009, Eboo Patel is the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a Chicago-based organization building the interfaith movement on college campuses. Author of the books "Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America" (Beacon Press, 2012), and "Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation" (Beacon Press, 2010) which won the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion,Eboo is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, NPR, and CNN. He served on President Obama's inaugural 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. He was an Ashoka Fellow, part of a select group of social entrepreneurs whose ideas are changing the world, and was recently awarded the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize, an award given to an individual to enhance awareness of the crucial role of religious dialogue in the pursuit of peace. Today, Eboo lives in Chicago with his wife, Shehnaz Mansuri, and their two sons.

"With "Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America," Eboo Patel establishes himself as the preeminent voice of the interfaith movement." -Paul Chaffee, The Interfaith Observer

To hear more from Eboo, follow him on Twitter @EbooPatel and "Like" him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EbooPatel.

Visit Interfaith Youth Core's website at www.ifyc.org. "Like" them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Interfaith-Youth-Core/29924369552 and follow them on Twitter @ifyc.

Photo credit: Chris Popio, 2012.

Customer Reviews

It was ,however, well written and interesting.
E. Kurfman
Eboo Patel's book shows us a different, necessary way toward the future.
Learn for Life
I read this through in one sitting - couldn't put it down.
Sal Hansen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By William Dahl VINE VOICE on September 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I finished this book the week before CNN began to air their three night special entitled "God's Warriors." If you haven't made time to watch God's Warriors for the 6 hour duration, you should. If you haven't read Eboo Patel's book, Acts of Faith - The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation,you must.

Religious fundamentalism continues to be the spawning grounds for extremism that continues to ravage the soul of mankind. It is through the efforts of Eboo Patel and the InterFaith Youth Core ([...] that young adults from all faith persuasions are challenged to learn to live with one another, in collaborative harmony.

The book recounts Patel's personal struggle with forging and cherishing his Muslim identity and faith, as an American, and then launching the InterFaith Youth Core as his vehicle for creating pluralistic understanding within the next generation of young adults who will become the leaders of our world. This book is about how one man decided to become part of the international interfaith youth movement.

As Patel says, "In a world where the forces that seek to divide us are strong, I came to one conclusion: We have to save each other. It's the only way to save ourselves." P. 180

This book chronicles how Eboo Patel came to participate in the movement of religious pluralism. In his own words, "Movements re-create the world. A movement is a growing group of people who believe so deeply in a new possibility that they participate in making it a reality. They won't all meet. They won't even know everybody else's names. But somehow, they all have the feeling that people on the other side of the city or country or the world believe in the same idea, burn with the same passion, and are taking risks for the same dream." P.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Nathaniel L. Whittemore on December 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As the Director of the Center for Global Engagement at Northwestern University, I am always on the look out for books that help young people make sense of their place in the world and their potential to create meaningful change.

What I felt the strongest connection to in Acts of Faith was Eboo's sense - which I felt throughout the book - that by exploring the intersection of one's own story and the legacy or history of the stories of which it is a part, each of us might better understand the potential of our own moment. Even more, each of us might be better able to access that potential and make it real.

What I believe Eboo has come across - in this book and with IFYC more widely - is nothing less than a deep truth of human nature - that not only does our sense of self impact our impact on the world, but that by working to strengthen, round out and challenge that sense of self, we better enable everyone to contribute their unique assets, potentials, and perspectives to improving our shared future.

What I've better come to understand after reading this is that what Patel calls "pluralism", the Center for Global Engagement calls "collaboration across borders," but it amounts to the same thing: a deep belief in the potential of the space we all share to make of this world all that it can be.

Highly recommended for the young social entrepreneur, volunteer, or humanitarian on your list!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sal Hansen on June 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read this through in one sitting - couldn't put it down. In a time when the West is obsessed with Muslim integration & violent extremism, Patel provides sharp insight into the best solutions.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eugene C. Roehlkepartain on June 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Acts of Faith is a unique, compelling, and important story that reframes the dialogue about youth and religion. Instead of the usual fare of games, friends, fundraisers, and trips that characterize too much religious youth work, Patel reminds us of the critical, urgent need to engage young people as change agents for creating a more civil and vibrant society.

Patel also reframes the debate about pluralism to show that bringing together young people from diverse religious traditions to engage in service together does not undermine their own religious identity, but actually (almost paradoxically) reinforces and deepens it. Everyone who cares about today's generation of young people--whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, something else, or none of the above--will be absorbed in Patel's story and challenged by his message.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Allemeier on August 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is for anyone interested in understanding the world we live in today. Here is a beautifully written explanation of what seperates mainstream American Muslims from the extemists that dominate the news today. If voices like Mr.Patel's can be heard there would be less fear and apprehension and a greater understanding and appreciation of one of the fastest growing segments of the American population. His search for religious plurality rather than hatred is a must read. I hope it gets the attention it deserves!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Mason on July 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A beautifully written book-if you are an educator, youth leader, or someone who is at all interested in how religion can affect social change, you owe it to yourself to read this book. I couldn't put it down. Doesn't matter if you are a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Athiest, etc-read this book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Swanson on August 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have tended to be unimpressed with anything with the "interfaith" label. My limited experience with dialogues and meetings between those of different religious traditions hasn't been real impressive. Remaining unoffensive often seems to be the unstated point of these conversations. Additionally, the ecumenical tone is often condescending, as if those who affirm their religion's particularities have yet to be enlightened as have the interfaith advocates. Thankfully this bland elitism is nowhere to be found in Ebbo Patel's memoir, Acts of Faith, about his experience with the interfaith movement, including founding the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core. In fact, by the end of the book I was ready to give the interfaith movement another chance.

Growing up in Chicago's western suburbs as the child of Indian immigrants who practiced Ismaili Islam gave Patel a unique perspective on the role of religion in society. Acts of Faith documents his suburban childhood, college years at the University of Illinois, graduate school at Oxford, and a variety of adventures around the world. The common thread throughout these recollections is the search for identity as one who doesn't fit the traditional American mold. American or Indian? Muslim by practice or culture? Scholar or activist? Cynic or optimist? Patel eventually came to claim his unique heritage along with the wisdom and experience from his varied and eclectic friendships.

As interesting as Patel's story is, Acts of Faith is finally about something larger than any one person's experience. The author believes that much of the religious violence in our day is due to the isolation and desperation experienced by young people around the world, of all religious traditions.
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