America's first Muslim college opens this fall, hopes to cultivate U.S.- born Islamic scholars
Voice of America News
August 3, 2010
A new college started classes this summer in Berkeley, California.
Zaytuna College's motto is, "Where Islam meets America." It's the first Muslim college in the United States.
Students walk across a sunny courtyard into classrooms, pick seats next to friends. But on this campus, the women sit on opposite sides of the auditorium from the men, who are mostly heavily bearded, heads covered in skull caps. Only one woman's hair is visible. The rest wear modest Islamic scarves.
The language in this classroom is Arabic. Zaytuna College is offering summer language classes in preparation for its official fall opening. The college emphasizes a rigorous general education in American history, anthropology, philosophy, literature, political science, but a major portion of its required curriculum is devoted to the study of Islam and the Koran.
"We want to manifest Islam in a way that's compatible with America," says Imam Zaid Shakir, who founded Zaytuna and is also a professor.