Bathed in the dusky haze of the afternoon sun, the smell of freshly mowed grass hovering as an undeniable harbinger of spring, the University of La Verne baseball and softball teams on April 8 don...
National Interfaith Leader Dr. Eboo Patel made a call for students to stand up for their values on Tuesday, April 16. He is the official Spring 2013 Fasnacht Lecturer, selected by the Fasnacht Committee on Religion and Society, the longest-standing endowed lecture series at the University of La Verne.
Interfaith Youth Core President Dr. Eboo Patel gave a poignant and timely speech on the importance of peace and tolerance at the University of La Verne on April 16, a day following the tragic events that took place at the Boston Marathon.
After inviting the audience to take a moment of silence, the 2013 Fasnacht Lecturer shared his thoughts on the importance of religious tolerance in his presentation titled “Standing Your Sacred Ground: There is No Better Time to Stand Up for Your Values than When They Are Under Attack.”
“Religion should be a bridge of cooperation rather that a barrier of division,” Patel said.
As a Muslim with an Indian hertitage and American citizenship, Patel shared his struggles and experiences in dealing his his cultural identity in a world filled with prejudices and hate, especially when it comes to society’s view on certain religions, like Islam.
It wasn’t until after he discovered of a box of photographs in his grandmother’s home that he found his peace. The photographs in the box were of women that his grandmother had taken in over the last few decades. Many were abused, broken and lost until his grandmother nurtured them and helped them get back up on their feet by letting them stay with her.
“When I asked her why she did what she did, she answered ‘because I’m Muslim,’” Patel said.
It was at that moment that he realized how misconstrued society’s view on religion can be and that people like his grandmother exist – religiously convicted – to make the world a better place.
From that day forward, he vowed to embrace his religion and “stand his sacred ground” so that one day society will not look upon Muslims as terrorists, but as a people who embrace strong values and morals.
As president of IFYC, Patel works to promote cooperation of individuals of all religious backgrounds.
“This lecture each year, which has been going on for nearly 30 years is grounded in what we’re all about, it’s grounded in the values, the core values and the morals of who we are as an institution,” University of La Verne President Dr. Devorah Lieberman.
Patel challenged the audience to work together on the La Verne campus and further develop interfaith understanding and relationships.
“What if one of our values is interfaith cooperation?” Patel asked. “What if we had a commitment that every student who crosses the stage in June at commencement at the University of La Verne, as a result of spending four years on this campus, has interfaith literacy and is able to tell you some appreciative things about other religions?” Patel said.
The Fasnacht Committee was named in honor of the late University of La Verne President Emeritus Harold Fasnacht and works to encourage debate and discussion about the place of religion in society.
-Story by Mark Vidal and Susan Acker
-Image by Mark Vidal