"We live in a moment of religious conflict around the world, and that's precisely why we need to be proactive about a positive conversation about religion."
Eboo Patel, author of Acts of Faith and founder and director of the Interfaith Youth Core, appeared with a panel of IFYC fellows on a Good Morning America segment (part one aired this morning, part two will run tomorrow.) In the segment, Eboo explained that interfaith dialogue does not equate to saying that all religions are essentially the same:
I'm a very proud Muslim, and some of my best friends are people who are very proud Jews, very proud Christians, very proud Hindus, so in the conversations that we have, we try to steer towards how our different faiths lead us to be merciful, to be passionate, to be of service to others.
But it's the kids who are at the center of the report. Jessica Kent, one of the young people interviewed, sums up the challenges and importance of creating open and honest connections between faiths:
People say don't talk about politics, don't talk about religion at the table, but how else are we supposed to express who we are, what inspired us, what keeps us going, what motivates us, why we do things?
UPDATE 1/24/08: Part two of the conversation is now available online.