Zaytuna College today celebrates the commencement of its inaugural semester, welcoming its first freshman class and marking an important moment in American Muslim history. Blending the best of American and Muslim educational traditions, Zaytuna College has started the process towards accreditation and is endeavoring to be one of the first accredited Muslim-run colleges in the United States.
The first day of classes begins on Tuesday, August 24, 2010. Zaytuna College is founded by prominent Muslim scholars Hatem Bazian, Hamza Yusuf Hanson and Zaid Shakir and initially offers a Bachelor's Degree program with two majors: Islamic Law and Theology and Arabic Language. "The college will in due time graduate highly trained and culturally aware professionals to lead the growing number of Muslim institutions and communities across the country as well as contribute in meaningful way to the diverse American tapestry," said Dr. Hatem Bazian. "As the years pass, the founding of Zaytuna College will prove to be a milestone in bringing about both a sounder understanding of Islam and better relations between Muslims and members of other faith communities here in the United States – God-willing," added Imam Zaid Shakir.
"We have looked forward to this day for many years, and are very pleased to welcome the first class of incoming freshman to Zaytuna," said Hamza Yusuf. "We have long desired to establish an institution that recognizes the importance of shaping Islamic scholars and teachers that fully understand American culture. Zaytuna College is the first institution of higher learning to address that need." Incoming students have expressed their excitement over being part of an important moment in Muslim American history.
Haroon Imtiaz, Zaytuna College freshman says, "I am very excited about coming to Zaytuna college. I am an American, and I want to fuse what I will learn here about traditional Islam with my American upbringing." Mission Zaytuna College aims to educate and prepare morally committed professional, intellectual, and spiritual leaders who are grounded in the Islamic Scholarly tradition and conversant with the cultural current and critical ideas shaping modern society.
• Zaytuna College is a four year liberal arts Muslim College, in Berkeley, CA
• 15 students in freshman class; six men, nine women
• Five faculty
• Two Majors: Islamic Law & Theology and Arabic Language
• Founders: Hatem Bazian, Hamza Yusuf Hanson and Zaid Shakir