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An inspiring story with a powerful message: we have to do more than just fight against fundamentalism; we need to offer and explicitly offer to youth a meaningful alternative. Compassion and Acts of Faith technically is the story of an American Muslim, but that part of the subtitle really throws off your mindset for what the book is meant to be.

The point of this book is more the Eboo Patel. In the process, he developed a deep reverence for what all faiths have in common, and founded an interfaith movement to help young people to embrace their common humanity through their faith. This young social entrepreneur offers us a powerful way to deal with one of the most important issues of our time. Even so, many organizations only pay lip service to the importance of youth programs; few devote substantial time and effort to them.

But there is a segment of our world that fully understands that young people are a combustible combination of power and fragility. Preachers in the bigotry-driven Christian Identity movement pay special attention to young people. Muslim extremists run madrasas with the clear-cut goal of teaching youth that violence is the answer. Youth programs are the focus of the institutions created by these religious totalitarians and at the center of their strategies.

All too often, young people are the perpetrators of the devastating acts of violence that define these groups. His unique understanding of the importance of positively engaging religious youth led him to found the Interfaith Youth Core, an energetic organization that seeks to counter religious totalitarianism by building an interfaith, pluralistic youth movement.

Addressing the key questions of this emerging movement, Patel shows us how to engage religious conservatives and, most importantly, how to positively focus the fires of youth. Diverse but not divisive, hopeful but not utopian. He is an American Indian whose roots are not in South Dakota but in South Asia, and 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.

His thesis is simple: children are not born to hate; hatred is taught to them. And in a time when religion is used increasingly to justify bigotry and violence, it is up to people of faith everywhere who believe in peace, and tolerance, and pluralism, to stand up to those who preach hatred in the name of God.

Acts of Faith is more than a book, it is an awakening of the mind. It should be required reading for all Americans. He shows how educating a new generation to reject religious intolerance and work for the common good is the only way the world can avoid growing fanaticism and violence. This hopeful book shows the power that is waiting to be engaged for a better future.

I highly commend it. Refreshing, honest, and hopeful, it will speak to the soul of a generation yearning for a new way ahead. Give it to eveery young person in your life—and to yourself. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He received his doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. Eboo is an Ashoka Fellow, part of an elite network of social entrepreneurs with ideas that have the potential to change the world.


Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation

In her thirties, during the Great Depression, Dorothy Day had started something called the Catholic Worker movement, which combined radical politics, direct service, and community living. For nearly half a century, Day had given up her own middle-class privilege to live with those who went without in what was called a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality. Like everything else that seemed good, I was convinced that the Catholic Worker movement had faded away in the s. In fact, there is one here in Champaign [Illinois]. From the moment I entered St. There was nobody doing intake.


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