Review of Sacred Ground

Meet the Author

Eboo Patel is the founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, a nonprofit that seeks to make interfaith cooperation a social norm.  He is the author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, in the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation (2010), and is a regular contributor to the Washington Post, USA Today, and the Huffington Post.  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.

Book Basics

Eboo Patel masterfully weaves together stories of several divisive religious happenings that have made headlines in a post-9/11 America, his own life experiences and those of the Interfaith Youth Core, and a vision for a pluralistic nation that emphasizes commonality while celebrating diversity.  Since pluralism is a “responsibility” not a “birthright,” he encourages people to move beyond the mere acquisition of new knowledge by engaging in interfaith conversations and forming interfaith relationships.

Authentic, well researched, and timely Sacred Ground belongs on the reading list of all who value religion and/or America.  While the work of the Interfaith Youth Core is now focused on a college audience (an intentional mid-course correction Patel relates in detail), this book effectively spans generations and religions providing wisdom for all.

So What?

In the chapter on interfaith cooperation, Patel writes:

Part of the promise of the growing science in religious diversity is that it provides a plan for making interfaith cooperation a societal norm.  If we train a critical mass of leaders to create enough spaces that expand the number of positive, meaningful encounters between people from different religions and programs that increase people’s appreciative knowledge of other religious traditions, the studies tell us that people’s attitudes toward other faith communities will improve.  As people’s attitudes improve, they will seek more interfaith friendships and interfaith literacy. (p.86).

What is your local congregation doing to contribute to making interfaith cooperation a societal norm?


Eboo Patel.  Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America  (Beacon Press, 2012).  ISBN: 9780807077481.


  1. […] experienced or can imagine universities embracing religious pluralism? (For more on this, read my review of Eboo Patel’s latest book:  Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of […]

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