American Stories

Discussion points for Acts of Faith

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Kambiz GhaneaBassiri suggests questions and topics to encourage and guide group discussion.

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

In Acts of Faith, Patel writes about the personal struggles associated with reconciling multiple identities. What are some of the discoveries in Patel's life journey that allow him to reconcile his Indian Muslim heritage with his life in America?

Much of Patel’s life is shaped by experiences with people of diverse religious backgrounds. He seems to have learned as much from Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Heschel as he did from Muslim thinkers and scriptures. What roles do you think Islam and his upbringing played in shaping his spiritual activism?

While in South Africa, Patel learned the principle of ubuntu, which he translates as “people are people through other people." How is this principle related to the notion of community in Patel’s thought? How does Patel define community in the midst of diversity?

Patel acknowledges some popular criticism of interfaith activity: It’s boring. It strips religions of their distinctive faith commitments and reduces them to what they minimally hold in common. After reading Acts of Faith, how do you understand interfaith activity? Why does Patel find interfaith activity to be a powerful tool for addressing the spiritual concerns of young people today?

How to Cite This Page

"Muslim Journeys | Item #281: Discussion points for Acts of Faith", July 21, 2018 http://bridgingcultures.neh.gov/muslimjourneys/items/show/281.

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