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Eboo Patel And Interfaith Action On Wednesday's Access Utah

Eboo Patel headshot

Eboo Patel founded the Interfaith Youth Core to counter the growing problem of religious intolerance and violence at home and abroad. IFYC trains students to bridge the faith-divide through interfaith cooperation. Patel says that “interfaith interactions can be a bomb of destruction, a barrier of division, a bubble of isolation, or a bridge of cooperation.” He says that he’s inspired to build a bridge of cooperation by his faith as a Muslim, his Indian heritage, and his American citizenship.

In this segment, Eboo discusses religious extremism and pluralism.

Named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Patel is the author of three books about interfaith cooperation, including “Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, in the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation” and "Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice and the Promise of America," and is a regular contributor to the Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, NPR and CNN.  He has spoken about this vision at the TED conference, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, as well as college and university campuses across the country.  Patel serves on the Council on Foreign Relations, the Department of Homeland Security’s Faith-based Advisory Council. 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, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.

Is the answer to religious intolerance to de-emphasize faith? Eboo answers.

Eboo Patel is coming to Utah for several events at Utah State University. He’ll give a Convocation Address, entitled, "Building Bridges of Interfaith Cooperation" in the Kent Concert Hall at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 4. This event is free and open to the public and there will be a book-signing of his latest book, "Sacred Ground” immediately after. Books are available in the USU bookstore and will also be for sale at the venue.

Listen to the full hour-long interview

The event is sponsored by a number of USU and community entities, including the Office of the President; Vice President for Student Services; Diversity Council; College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHaSS) and the CHaSS  Advising Center; Caine College of the Arts; Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology; Religious Studies Program; Access and Diversity Center; Housing and Residence Life; Center for Civic Engagement & Service-Learning; Dining Services; LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Institute; LDS Church Public Affairs; Cache Community Connections; Cache Valley Unitarian Universalists; Logan Islamic Center; Prince of Peace Lutheran Church; Logan First Presbyterian Church; St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church; St. John’s Episcopal Church, and multiple private donations.

This convocation is a "kicking-off" event for a USU "Better Together Campaign" which is being organized by members of the newly-organized USU Interfaith Initiative. The next event will be a student-led interfaith "speed-faithing" panel which will be held in the TSC Auditorium from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 17th. Anyone interested in participating in this or other events planned by the USU Interfaith Initiative can email the group at  They are also on Facebook and Twitter.

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.