First American Muslim College Accepting Applications


Islam Online is reporting on what is described as “America’s first ever Muslim college.” According to the report:

WASHINGTON – As interested students race to beat the fast approaching enrolment deadline, Muslims are turning their sights to the Zaytuna College in California to see if America’s first ever Muslim college will live up to the high expectations. “We’ve been waiting for this time,” Imam Zaid Shakir, a scholar-in-residence and lecturer at Zaytuna Institute and a co-founded of the college, told in an exclusive interview. “It’s been a long road to get here, Alhamdulillah, and to know that we’re in this final part to getting freshman class set is very exciting.” Zaytuna College, a brainchild of Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, Imam Shakir and Professor Hatem Bazian, will stop accepting applications for its first freshman class of 2010 on March 1. With the application process coming to a close, a committee is readying to study the applications and admit between 20-25 students as incoming freshmen. And although the college is seeking Muslim students, it is not exclusive to Muslims. There will be no gender separation at the college and academic pursuits and freedom will be paramount. Course subjects have been decided on, but educators are now writing syllabi and mapping out teaching methodology for the subjects. Currently only two majors are being offered: Arabic language and Islamic law and theology. As the class size increases and more educators are hired, other majors will be offered, Imam Shakir said. Zaytuna College is in the rigorous process of seeking accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, a process that will take a number of years and one that Imam Shakir hopes will be completed by the time the freshman class graduates. He noted that they have been able to achieve the goal of raising nearly $4 million needed for its temporary location at Berkeley. Now they face the challenge of raising upwards of $65 million for an endowment fund that will ensure a consistent monetary support and alleviate the need for constant fundraising. Along with that comes a move in the near future to a permanent location in Northern California. Professor Bazian says one of the goals of the college is to produce scholars of Islam who are a product of an American education system. Imam Shakir, along with other Zaytuna College advisors, criss-crossed the country to drum up support, raise funds and answer questions from perspective students and their parents. He also held a series of weekly informational online seminars explaining the unique nature of the college, which aims to meld two types of learning institution: a college focusing on religious study and one where such study will be explored in the context of a liberal arts education.

An online biography provides the following details about Dr. Bazian:

Hatem Bazian is the current president of the American Muslims for Palestine. Dr. Bazian received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in near eastern studies and ethnic studies and a master’s degree in international relations from San Francisco State University. Currently, Dr. Bazian is a senior lecturer in the Near Eastern Studies and Ethnic Studies Departments at UC-Berkeley. In addition, Dr. Bazian is an adjunct professor at: UC-Berkeley Law School at Boalt Hall, religious studies at Saint Mary’s College of California and UC-Davis. Dr. Bazian co-hosted “Islam Today”, a weekly radio magazine show covering Islam and its diverse people around the world. Since 9/11, he has appeared on many TV and radio interviews and was also a translation consultant for the San Francisco Chronicle on a number of stories relating to Islam, Muslims and global politics.

One of the other officers of the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) is Salah Sarsour, a board member of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee as well as the registered agent for the Wisconsin chapter of the Muslim American Society (MAS), a part of the US Muslim Brotherhood closely tied to the Egyptian organization. The Sarsour family in Milwaukee is known to have many ties to the Hamas infrastructure in the US. A previous post discussed a a “Gaza Solidarity Day” jointly organized by the MAS, the far-left A.N.S.W.E.R coalition, and the AMP.

Video from an April 2004 antiwar-rally shows Hatem Bazian calling for an “Intifada” in the US:

“Are you angry? [Yeah!] Are you angry? [Yeah!] Are you angry? [Yeah!] Well, we’ve been watching intifada in Palestine, we’ve been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don’t have an intifada in this country? Because it seem[s]to me, that we are comfortable in where we are, watching CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, and all these mainstream… giving us a window to the world while the world is being managed from Washington, from New York, from every other place in here in San Francisco: Chevron, Bechtel, [Carlyle?] Group, Halliburton; every one of those lying, cheating, stealing, deceiving individuals are in our country and we’re sitting here and watching the world pass by, people being bombed, and it’s about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s]fundamentally the political dynamics in here. And we know every— They’re gonna say some Palestinian being too radical — well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet!”

More video from the same conference show Bazian talking about the “Arabs who are coming to help” in Iraq. Dr. Bazian later claimed that his remarks on a US Intifada were misunderstood.

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