Eboo Patel is founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based international nonprofit that promotes interfaith cooperation. His blog, The Faith Divide, explores what drives faiths apart and what brings them together. He is also author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation (Beacon Press, 2007).
Posts By This Author
A Daringly Astute Faith
Just like that, the pope had gotten to the heart of Islam, my religion.
Mapping Gandhi's Faith Journey
How did a skinny, shy, middle-class Indian come to lead one of history's great liberation struggles?
Hot Dogs for Peace
I felt the horror of a kid caught in a grade school coolness competition.
From Diversity to Pluralism
Bridges don't fall from the sky; people build them.
The Inaugural Prayer We Didn't Hear
An inaugural prayer should connect the particularities of one's own faith tradition with the pluralism of the nation.
Storytelling and Social Change
The stories we tell today are simply the next chapter in an overarching narrative of hope, justice, and pluralism.
What We Know About Muslims
It's frustrating to be constantly represented by violent thugs and to be asked to explain their actions.
The Vocation of Presence
Sometimes I fly through my schedule so fast that I zoom past the craft.
Sikhs and Sacred Ground
Imagine the terror.
You are in a temple, a safe, sacred place, preparing for a morning service. In the kitchen, you are busy cooking food for lunch, while others read scriptures and recite prayers. Friends begin to gather for the soon-to-start service.
At the front door, you smile at the next man who enters. He does not smile back. Instead, he greets you with hateful stare and bullets from his gun.
Such was the scene Sunday at a Sikh gurudwara in Oak Creek, Wis., just south of Milwaukee, where a gunman, Wade Michael Page, killed six and critically injured three others before being shot down by law enforcement agents.
As Page began his shooting spree, terrified worshippers sought shelter in bathrooms and prayer rooms. Rumors of a hostage situation surfaced, and those trapped inside asked loved ones outside not to text or call their cell phones, for fear that the phone ring might give away their hiding place.
The first police officer to arrive on the scene stopped to tend to a victim outside the gurudwara. He looked up to find the shooter pointing his gun directly at him, and then took several bullets to his upper body. He waved the next set of officers into the temple, encouraging them to help others even as he bled.
That magnanimity is a common theme among the stories of victims and survivors of the Wisconsin shootings. Amidst terror and confusion, Sikhs offered food and water to the growing crowd of police and news reporters outside the gurudwara as part of langar — the Sikh practice of feeding all visitors to the house of worship.
What Makes for Sacred Ground?
If the forces of pluralism don’t write the next chapter in the American story, the forces of prejudice will.