Podcast: Eboo Patel on Islam, Pluralism, and the “Faith Line”

In this third episode of Progressive Religious Voices (listen to the first two here), Dr. Eboo Patel talks about how his Muslim faith grounds his deep commitment to pluralism and his work with youth around the world at Interfaith Youth Core.

Eboo compellingly describes what he calls the significance of the emerging “Faith Line.” The Faith Line, as Eboo describes it, does not separate people of different religions but separates religious pluralists on the one hand and religious totalitarians on the other. Eboo’s work is focused on broadening the space for religious pluralism. Drawing on his Islamic faith, he summarizes it as follows: “My hope is to articulate what I love about your tradition, and to teach you what you might love about mine, and to point to a space where we might work together to serve others. And in my mind, that’s the example of the Prophet Muhammad.”

Eboo is an important emerging progressive religious leader, and articulates eloquently the way his Muslim faith interfaces with the best of the American ideals of democracy and pluralism:

In my mind, I’m part of the story of America, I’m part of the story of India, and I’m part of the story of Islam. It was in the Holy Qur’an, which is the book that animated my ancestors, that I found the fullest description of that and that I found language that I considered home…. I love America because it gives me, the child of immigrant Muslim parents from India, the chance to participate in its progress and to carve a place in its promise. And I believe that this country was founded in large part on the idea of religious freedom and its relationship with religious pluralism…. We have managed to have a relatively thick religious pluralism in this country that has respect for identity, that nurtures community, that focuses people on the common good. What I think we need to do in America is realize that this in the early twenty-first century, in the century of the faith line, is in fact, our most precious internal resource and our most important gift to the rest of the world.

Listen/Download: [Podcast – mp3] |[Transcript – PDF]

About Eboo Patel
Eboo Patel is founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based international nonprofit that is building the interfaith movement through service and dialogue. His blog, The Faith Divide, explores what drives faiths apart and what brings them together. Eboo is the author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the soul of a Generation.

About the Podcasts
This podcast is the third episode of Progressive Religious Voices, a bi-monthly podcast of interviews gleaned from nearly 100 interviews with progressive religious leaders. You can subscribe to the podcast feed directly or on iTunes to get all 24 exciting interviews that we will feature throughout 2008.

Podcast editing by Robert P. Jones. Audio production by Emily Hanford. Music by Fernando Perez, “Alhamdu lil-laah,” from Music from the World in the Guitar of Fernando Perez.