First Muslim College in US Opens

Zaytuna is located in Berkeley
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2010 3:20 PM CDT
First Muslim College in US Opens
A promotional image from Zatyuna College.   (Zatyuna College)

The first Muslim college in America quietly began classes this week, amid the continued fervor over the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero and a certain pastor bent on burning Korans. The location of Zaytuna College in Berkeley probably explains its relatively untroubled beginnings, though some conservatives have attacked the founders' motives, notes AP: "This is stealth jihad in the sense that it is about promoting in the United States incubators for sharia," wrote Frank Gaffney, a Reagan-era defense official.

But Zatyuna's founders don't take such criticisms seriously. As a hybrid of a liberal-arts college and Islamic seminary, the school's mission is to "prepare morally committed human beings that can go out and make a difference in the world as Muslims." It hopes to address a gap in Islamic theology—with seminaries relatively rare, American mosques often bring in Pakistani or Saudi Arabian imams, who are often out of step with American culture. This year, it has five faculty members and 15 students.
(Read more Muslim stories.)

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