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Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America Hardcover – 4 Oct 2012


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Review

"Interfaith cooperation is one of America's founding ideals. It still sets us apart from much of the world. Eboo Patel has lived that value and, in this book, spreads that good word. Uplifting and invaluable, "Sacred Ground "is essential reading for our polarized era."--Walter Isaacson, author of "Steve Jobs "and "Benjamin Franklin"
"At a time when ignorance and suspicion are holding us back from building true community with our neighbors, Eboo Patel offers a light in the darkness. He challenges the bigotry and intolerance that is seeping into our political rhetoric, reminding us that America is a country built on the pillars of pluralism and tolerance. In both "Sacred Ground" and his wonderful interfaith work, Eboo offers an opportunity for us to move to higher ground in our relationships with our Muslim brothers and sisters, and to play our part in building a 'beloved community for all people, ' both in the United States, and around the world."--Rev. Jim Wallis, author of "God's Politics"
"Eboo Patel is a remarkable young man with the wisdom to seek truth and the courage to speak it. One of America's foremost advocates and practitioners of interfaith understanding, he has written a book that combines timely social commentary with compelling history and a wealth of personal anecdotes. "Sacred Ground" is a refreshing, thought-provoking, myth-smashing, and deeply patriotic exploration of American identity and ideals."--Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
""Sacred Ground "is simultaneously a chronicle of religious tensions in post-9/11 America and an account of how to create, through trial and error and critical self-reflection, the most successful interfaith movement in the country. Patel probes like a professor, inspires like a preacher, and writes like a poet. I really loved this book; it is a tale that is truly hard to put down."--Robert D. Putnam, author of "American Grace"
"Eboo Patel has been a transformative force in oure

""Sacred Ground "is simultaneously a chronicle of religious tensions in post-9/11 America and an account of how to create, through trial and error and critical self-reflection, the most successful interfaith movement in the country. Patel probes like a professor, inspires like a preacher, and writes like a poet. I really loved this book; it is a tale that is truly hard to put down."
--Robert D. Putnam, author of "American Grace"
"Interfaith cooperation is one of America's founding ideals. It still sets us apart from much of the world. Eboo Patel has lived that value and, in this book, spreads that good word. Uplifting and invaluable, "Sacred Ground "is essential reading for our polarized era."
--Walter Isaacson, author of "Steve Jobs "and "Benjamin Franklin"
"At a time when ignorance and suspicion are holding us back from building true community with our neighbors, Eboo Patel offers a light in the darkness. He challenges the bigotry and intolerance that is seeping into our political rhetoric, reminding us that America is a country built on the pillars of pluralism and tolerance. In both "Sacred Ground" and his wonderful interfaith work, Eboo offers an opportunity for us to move to higher ground in our relationships with our Muslim brothers and sisters, and to play our part in building a 'beloved community for all people, ' both in the United States, and around the world."
--Rev. Jim Wallis, author of "God's Politics"
"Eboo Patel has been a transformative force in our young and tumultuous century. And he has an utterly original experience of what robust religious identity can mean in modern lives. With this book, he opens the idea of 'inter-faith' into a vision of America that is practically informative, refreshingly challenging, and full of hope."
--Krista Tippett, host of public radio's "On Being"
" "
"Eboo Patel is a remarkable young man with the wisdom to seek truth and the courage to speak it. One of America's foremo

"Eboo Patel is a remarkable young man with the wisdom to seek truth and the courage to speak it. One of America's foremost advocates and practitioners of interfaith understanding, he has written a book that combines timely social commentary with compelling history and a wealth of personal anecdotes. "Sacred Ground" is a refreshing, thought-provoking, myth-smashing, and deeply patriotic exploration of American identity and ideals."
--Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
""Sacred Ground "is simultaneously a chronicle of religious tensions in post-9/11 America and an account of how to create, through trial and error and critical self-reflection, the most successful interfaith movement in the country. Patel probes like a professor, inspires like a preacher, and writes like a poet. I really loved this book; it is a tale that is truly hard to put down."
--Robert D. Putnam, author of "American Grace"
"Interfaith cooperation is one of America's founding ideals. It still sets us apart from much of the world. Eboo Patel has lived that value and, in this book, spreads that good word. Uplifting and invaluable, "Sacred Ground "is essential reading for our polarized era."
--Walter Isaacson, author of "Steve Jobs "and "Benjamin Franklin"
"Eboo Patel has been a transformative force in our young and tumultuous century. And he has an utterly original experience of what robust religious identity can mean in modern lives. With this book, he opens the idea of 'inter-faith' into a vision of America that is practically informative, refreshingly challenging, and full of hope."
--Krista Tippett, host of public radio's "On Being"
"At a time when ignorance and suspicion are holding us back from building true community with our neighbors, Eboo Patel offers a light in the darkness. He challenges the bigotry and intolerance that is seeping into our political rhetoric, reminding us that America is a country built on the pillars of pluralism an

Eboo Patel is a remarkable young man with the wisdom to seek truth and the courage to speak it. One of America s foremost advocates and practitioners of interfaith understanding, he has written a book that combines timely social commentary with compelling history and a wealth of personal anecdotes. "Sacred Ground" is a refreshing, thought-provoking, myth-smashing, and deeply patriotic exploration of American identity and ideals.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
"Sacred Ground "is simultaneously a chronicle of religious tensions in post-9/11 America and an account of how to create, through trial and error and critical self-reflection, the most successful interfaith movement in the country.Patel probes like a professor, inspires like a preacher, and writes like a poet. I really loved this book; it is a tale that is truly hard to put down.
Robert D. Putnam, author of "American Grace"
Interfaith cooperation is one of America s founding ideals. It still sets us apart from much of the world. Eboo Patel has lived that value and, in this book, spreads that good word. Uplifting and invaluable, "Sacred Ground "is essential reading for our polarized era.
Walter Isaacson, author of "Steve Jobs "and "Benjamin Franklin"
Eboo Patel has been a transformative force in our young and tumultuous century. And he has an utterly original experience of what robust religious identity can mean in modern lives. With this book, he opens the idea of inter-faith into a vision of America that is practically informative, refreshingly challenging, and full of hope.
Krista Tippett, host of public radio s "On Being"
At a time when ignorance and suspicion are holding us back from building true community with our neighbors, Eboo Patel offers a light in the darkness. He challenges the bigotry and intolerance that is seeping into our political rhetoric, reminding us that America is a country built on the pillars of pluralism and tolerance. In both "Sacred Ground" and his wonderful interfaith work, Eboo offers an opportunity for us to move to higher ground in our relationships with our Muslim brothers and sisters, and to play our part in building a beloved community for all people, both in the United States, and around the world.
Rev. Jim Wallis, author of "God s Politics"
Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, lets his love for his work and his country shine through in this brief but charming introduction to the importance of interfaith work in America [H]is expertise and blend of compelling personal anecdotes with researched argumentation makes this work an accessible and inspiring introduction to the meaning and practice of pluralism.
"Publishers Weekly""

About the Author

Eboo Patel is the founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core and the author of Acts of Faith. He was a member of President Obama's inaugural faith council, is a regular contributor to the Washinton Post, CNN, and public radio, and speaks frequently about interfaith cooperation on college campuses. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two boys.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9b8af870) out of 5 stars 36 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b8c2480) out of 5 stars Sacred Ground: The Interfaith Triangle 23 Sept. 2012
By Joshua M. Z. Stanton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
One of my greatest joys in working with Eboo Patel is watching him think. He is the sharpest wit in most of the rooms he enters, and if you manage to catch him with a surprising or unusual question after a public talk or small-group gathering, you can see his mind whirring as he finds not only a meaningful answer, but also a more compelling framework for your question.

In Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America, Eboo gives us all the gift of seeing him think. It seems apparent that he is in the process of re-framing not merely a question, but the premises of the entire interfaith movement, of which he has long been a key part.

The core of his new thinking comes out in his chapter, "The Science of Interfaith Cooperation." Reflecting humbly on a moment when he found himself unable to respond adequately to a funder's request for measurable outcomes, he poses a set of questions that the Interfaith Youth Core has already begun answering, and to which all members of the interfaith movement must attend: "How do we measure effectiveness in interfaith work? How do we track progress? What outcomes are we after, and how do we know we are reaching them?"

In response to this question, Eboo looks to quantitative, rather than qualitative evidence -- a major shift not in his own personal research and reading, but in his description of the interfaith movement and why it counts. Therein lies a gem, which may in time spawn a transformation within the interfaith movement and how it understands itself: the interfaith triangle. Says Patel,

"The more I studied this area, the more I started to see attitudes, knowledge, and relationships as three sides of a triangle. If you know some (accurate and positive) things about a religion, and you know some people from that religion, you are far more likely to have positive attitudes toward that tradition and that community. The more favorable your attitude, the more open you will be to new relationships and additional appreciative knowledge. A couple of cycles around this triangle, and people from different faiths are starting to smile at each other on the streets instead of looking away or crossing to the other side."

The question truly, in my mind, at the heart of the book is how to encourage people en masse to go around the interfaith triangle in the right direction. The absence of movement could lead to indifference or even mutual suspicion. Going the wrong way (and learning inaccurate and negative things about a given tradition) could lead to the singling out of religious communities, as we saw of the Muslim community over the otherwise uncontroversial issue of a community center at 51 Park Place.

The genius of Sacred Ground is not merely this central idea or very important chapter on quantifying outcomes for interfaith cooperation. It is in showing how this new "science" meshes with the powerful narratives that Eboo has long used to inspire leaders and shape the interfaith movement. What counts is not merely how many people we get to go around the interfaith triangle, but what that experience is like for them -- and whether they will tell others to join them on the trek.

Sacred Ground clarifies our path as a movement with robust data. But it also shows that what creates a movement goes far beyond the data itself. Our stories are at the center of the interfaith triangle.

This review was published also on the Huffington Post:[...]
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b8c2534) out of 5 stars Beautiful articulation of the potential of America's religious diversity 14 Aug. 2012
By Sal Hansen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Eboo Patel is a visionary for our time. He sees potential and beauty of America's religious diversity and argues eloquently that interfaith cooperation is part of America's backbone. He offers contemporary articulation of the threats to and possibilities of interfaith bridgebuilding in America today, and an inspiring prescription for action for colleges and university, students and parents.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b8c296c) out of 5 stars A Review of Eboo Patel's "Sacred Ground" 19 Dec. 2012
By Rick Love - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sacred Ground is a profoundly refreshing look at how faith intersects with American ideals, or more accurately how American ideals should protect everyone's faith. Sacred ground refers to the fundamental American commitment to freedom of religion. Patel describes the promise of America as pluralism - equal rights for a multicultural society .

Following the Harvard University Scholar Diana Eck, Patel makes an important distinction between diversity and pluralism: "diversity is simply the fact of people from different backgrounds living in close quarters. Baghdad is diverse. Belfast is diverse. Bosnia is diverse. Each of those places ... had also experienced serious religious violence... Where diversity is a fact, pluralism is an achievement - it means deliberate and positive engagement of diversity" (pg. 70-71).

Sacred Ground will equip you to positively engage with diversity. It will help you live with the shift of colors and creeds in your neighborhoods. Patel will help you overcome the poison of prejudice and work towards the achievement of pluralism.

Patel brilliantly illustrates how the forces of prejudice have squared off against the forces of pluralism repeatedly in our history. He notes the famous and obvious example of the Civil Rights movement in the 60's. But he also draws out important parallels between the strong anti-Catholic sentiment in the 60's and present day Islamophobia. I was shocked to read of the religious prejudice and discrimination faced by Catholics only half a century ago.

Patel writes about the "science of interfaith cooperation." He points out that social scientists measure diversity in three ways: through people's attitudes, knowledge and relationships. This triangle of knowledge, relationships and attitudes becomes not only descriptive of religious diversity but also prescriptive of how we actually engage positively with different ethnic and religious groups.

For example, people's attitudes toward Muslims in general change when they have a meaningful relationship with one Muslim. In the same way, people's attitudes toward Muslims change when they have greater knowledge of Islam. I have seen this happen repeatedly. We in Peace Catalyst International have been doing this intuitively from the beginning. Thank you Eboo for showing the scientific basis for this!

Interfaith cooperation smacks of compromise for many evangelicals. I realize that much interfaith cooperation is in fact a "dumbing down" of our respective faiths to build bridges. It is compromise.

But that is NOT the focus of Sacred Ground. Patel emphasizes a robust interfaith cooperation without compromise. He demonstrates that we can and even should engage with the "other" while remaining resolute in our own faith. We can build bridges without denying our own faith. Patel's goal? "How can Cassie be a righteous Christian while remaining friends with a good Muslim? (pg. 141)"

Sacred Ground is an important book about relevant issues - a must read for peacemakers and anyone engaging Muslims in the U.S.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b8c2948) out of 5 stars I think this book is tedious and the author's good ideas are buried in lots ... 14 Jan. 2016
By Cove Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A book club of Muslim, Christian and Buddhist women chose this to read and I have not heard their responses yet but look forward to hearing what others think. I think this book is tedious and the author's good ideas are buried in lots of extraneous verbiage about himself and the situations he is describing often beleaguing the point of the need for dialogue. He spends about 1/3 of the book talking about the Córdoba Houst controversy, which I remember. While I think this suggestion probably arose out of good intention, I find it difficult to hear Patel talk about he great suffering of Muslims and then show so little understanding of the suffering of those whose loved ones and community died in the 9/11 terrorist attack, or in the ongoing aftermath of the illnesses many of those first responders still deal with. Then there is his assertion that Spain enjoyed 700 years of happy, contented and peaceful Muslim rule that was embodied in the art of Córdoba. At least three different waves of Muslim invaders from North Africa overwhelmed Christian Spain and while some Christians and Jews survived and continued to live there, they were heavily taxed and performed important functions, like banking, for the Muslims. Peace at the point of a sword is hardly happy co-existence. - I did not find his 3 keys to participating in a TV interview gratifying when number two is "never answer the question." I have seen this technique used and invariably find it annoying to disingenuous. - He makes a comment about thinking universities should offer degrees in interfaith and seems surprised when a State university president says "We don't discuss religion." Perhaps the concept of separation of church and state needs to be clarified for him. - There also seems to be a question about whether any minority group will every feel comfortable with the majority, as well as just how far a culture needs to bend itself to satisfy the demands of its minorities. And, I am definitely reminded at as of today in 2016 that there are few Muslim dominated countries that tolerate diversity, especially to the extent found in the US. In fact, I can't think of any. - I do appreciate that he is trying to create greater harmony through dialogue and I personally am committed to working with that in my community, and I think Muslim's have a long way to go to manifest that their religion is one of peace. We hear that said continually and then we hear about the bombings, and the molestations in Cologne and it makes those statements less trustworthy. - The promise of America gets stretched pretty far when pleuralism is thought to be "you have to accept us just as we are" or "we don't want to assimilate" or "this is our religion so you can't criticize it or judge it."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b8c2d74) out of 5 stars Brilliant and challenging on working for pluralism 28 July 2014
By D. Andrew Kille - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Patel is always a clear and thoughtful writer. This book develops the fundamental approach to interfaith relationships that he has developed over his many years leading the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago. It's the most comprehensive and direct argument for the need for interfaith work and workers that I have ever read. I've been working in the field of interreligious relationships for many years, and this is the first time that I have heard anyone ask how we measure the effectiveness of that effort.

He makes an important distinction between diversity, which is a fact of modern life, and pluralism, which is developing understanding and appreciation for the diversity. Observing the example of the Dalai Lama, he points out that pluralism requires developing "appreciative knowledge about other traditions," an effort to identify "values that all religions share," understanding "the history of interfaith cooperation" here and around the world, and developing one's own "interfaith theology," based in one's own tradition.

In a time when interreligious conflict is so much in the news, and the US is challenged to include more and more religious diversity, Patel's book offers clear direction towards the strength that can come from mutual understanding and appreciation.
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