by Warner Todd Huston | March 11, 2015 11:56 am
An Islamic college in California has become the first Muslim college in America to become officially accredited, a report reveals. The college claims to represent “moderate Islam” but one of its founders had a tie to the suspect who perpetrated the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.
Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, founded in 1996, has received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is the only college in the U.S. that teaches only Islam to be awarded such an official status.
The approval letter from the association to the Berkeley-based college states the school has been given “initial accreditation,” adding the institution may confer an accredited “Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Law and Theology” at this time.
The association also commended Zaytuna College for its work to obtain accreditation, saying the label “adds value” to institutions while also providing “accountability.”
Zaytuna’s founders have praised the decision.
“Five years ago, we introduced an undergraduate liberal arts program inspired by the idea of restoring the holistic education that had been offered in the great teaching centers of Islamic civilization,” President Hamza Yusuf stated on the school’s website. “Today, Zaytuna’s accreditation roots this vision in a reality recognized within American higher education. It gives our community its first accredited academic address in the United States. And we hope, God willing, that there will be more such Muslim colleges and universities to come.”
The March 8 announcement from the school noted the Western Association of Schools and Colleges is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and also accredited Zaytuna’s neighbors: Stanford University and UC Berkeley.
The college claims to represent “moderate Islam,” and claims it stands against terrorism. But one of its founders, Imam Zaid Shakir, wrote a 1992 pamphlet that denounced American politics and warned Muslims to to stay out of our system of governance. His pamphlet was found in the possession of the suspect of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.
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