37 pages • 1 hour readEboo Patel
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Patel is an American-born man of Ismaili descent. Acts of Faith traces his path from growing up in Illinois to becoming the founder of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based group seeking to encourage young people to engage in interfaith work and activism. As a boy, Patel is aware that his family is Muslim, but his faith has more to do with rituals than with spirituality. As he matures, he struggles with his lack of identity. Although he belongs to activist groups and various service-based communes, he has no sense of what he considers real community. He visits India, has an audience with the Dalai Lama, and forms the IFYC. Eventually, he experiences a spiritual awakening, marries a Muslim woman, and embraces his identity as a Muslim living in America, seeking to reach young people before they can become radicalized.
His work with young people is important to him because he sees himself in the stories of young Muslims who were radicalized and perform violent acts, like the 9/11 hijackers and the London bombers of 2007. Growing up, Patel feels angry and that he is an outsider with no community or identity of his own.
By Eboo Patel