Growing up in Arizona in the 1970s, Jihad Turk, now a Muslim scholar, doesn't remember many other kids who shared his Palestinian-American identity.


"There wasn't really any institution. There wasn't really any pathway to really growing my faith," Turk recalled. "And so people who wanted to do that had to go to Syria, had to go to Egypt, had to go to Islamic University in Medina [Saudi Arabia] or Malaysia or Pakistan or somewhere else."


Today, Turk is working to fix that in America. He has established and now runs Bayan Claremont -- the first graduate school for Islamic study in the United States. The goal is to educate the next generation of Muslim scholars and religious leaders, who can serve their communities in the same spirit of cultural pluralism in which they were raised, rather than with an imported, foreign education.

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