Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Imagine a World....

"Imagine a world where young people from different religious backgrounds come together to create understanding and respect by serving their communities. This is the world we are building"
From Interfaith Youth Core website

I've seen a lot of recent media coverage on the role of religion in influencing politics and the course of world events. The coverage has focused on how religion creates fragmentation, divisiveness, and conflict by promoting a view of cultures different from one's own as "the other".

I was very encouraged to come across the work of Eboo Patel who founded the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC). Their stated vision is to foster religious understanding and co-operation among religiously diverse youth while they serve their communities through various social action projects. Diversity of religion, instead of being a source of conflict and mistrust, becomes an avenue of understanding as young people work together to express their shared values by serving humanity. Their goal is not only to tolerate diversity, but to build positive, enriching, and respectful relationships as they work together to make the world a better place.

IFYC has a fascinating website (Interfaith Youth Core) which has information on their values, goals and methodologies, and how you can get involved. Also, here is an interview with Eboo Patel where he explains some of his background and motivations: Religious Passion, Pluralism, and the Young. If you are in need of a "beacon of hope" after learning about some of our tragic world events, I encourage you to look into it.

Eboo Patel also has a new book about his experiences and the work he is doing titled "Acts of Faith". I can't wait to read it!


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