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37 pages 1 hour read

Eboo Patel

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

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2007

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Introduction-Chapter 2Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Introduction Summary: “The Faith Line”

The Introduction asks the key question of the book: In a world of passionate religiosity and intense interaction, how will people from different faith backgrounds engage one another? Two examples form the framework for the question.

First is Eric Rudolph, a Christian fundamentalist who detonated a radio-controlled nail bomb at a woman’s health-care center in Birmingham, Alabama, and another bomb at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Rudolph was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment but was unrepentant and defiant at his sentencing. He believes he did the right thing because he had been taught a theology of hate by other fundamentalists, among them a man named Dan Gayman. Further, many sympathetic Christian people in North Carolina helped him evade capture and cheered him on. Why? Because they had also been taught a theology of hate.

Second is a group of middle school students in Whitwell, Tennessee. They give tours of a German railway car that was used to transport Jews to death camps during the Holocaust. Whitwell is a town of 2,000 people and is within 100 miles of where the Ku Klux Klan was founded. Why would these middle school students care about educating Whitwell residents about Judaism? Because their principal, Linda Hooper, taught them to care about people different from themselves.

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By Eboo Patel