cover image Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise

Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise

Eboo Patel. Princeton Univ., $27.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0691-18272-8

Patel (Sacred Ground), former faith advisor to Barack Obama, explores questions about how American society has both resisted and welcomed partisanship, racism, and prejudice in recent decades, focusing largely on the experiences of Muslims. Setting up his book as an investigation of how Americans make sense of the many identities that form the collective body of the nation, Patel zooms in on Muslims as a “window through which to examine broader themes about America and religious diversity.” Building on his prowess as an interfaith pioneer in American colleges, Patel offers a vision of pluralism that aims to guard against religious preference and particularism, advances everyday ethics, and invites Americans of many religious persuasions into civic participation. The main essay of the book takes up the conversation and controversy surrounding Cordoba House (also known as the 9/11 mosque) and anti-Muslim rhetoric in the Trump era; Patel is concerned about rising anti-Muslim sentiment but doesn’t believe it will last. The final section features friendly but critical responses from scholars from diverse perspectives that challenge or modify Patel’s ideas. Readers will be rewarded with Patel’s rich perspective on religious diversity in America as he champions the strength of its civic identity and the possibility of religious pluralism in the years to come. (Sept.)