Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Muslim College in U.S. Opens in Calif.; Zaytuna College Begins Classes with 15 Students

Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California began offering classes on August 24, 2010 -- 15 students began classes there -- thus becoming the first Muslim College in the United States, according to the Huffington Post website.

Zaytuna College grew out of a pilot seminary program at the Zaytuna Institute, which graduated a handful of students in 2008. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf -- an American-born convert from San Francisco who studied Islam abroad -- started the institute in 1996, offering continuing education classes in Arabic and Islamic studies.

Zaytuna is offering two majors to start: Arabic language, and Islamic law and theology.

Zaytuna -- which means "olive tree" in Arabic -- also hopes to be a vehicle for interfaith dialogue. The college was established in progressive Berkeley -- an intellectual hub with a sizable Muslim community. It will be housed at the American Baptist Seminary of the West for five years, when founders will open its own campus.

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