Excerpted from The Campus Fix: A Muslim college in Northern California has been given accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, becoming the first accredited Muslim college in America.
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.”
“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.ZCinside
The college describes its mission as “grounding students in the Islamic scholarly tradition as well as the cultural currents and critical ideas shaping modern society.”[…]
The left-leaning Think Progress reports the school’s founders have “been the subjects of minor controversy in decades past, but have become passionate defenders of moderate Islam in recent years, with Yusuf and Shakir often traveling together to give talks to Muslim students across America denouncing extremism.”
“According to a 2006 New York Times profile of Yusuf and Shakir, they reportedly see Islam not as a monolithic entity, but a tradition that ‘is open to a diversity of interpretations honed by centuries of scholars,’” Think Progress reports. “The Times also reported that Yusuf hosted a popular TV reality show in the mid-2000s in which he bussed groups of Arabs across the United States to break down Arab stereotypes about Americans, introducing the travelers to people such as antiwar protesters demonstrating outside the Republican National Convention.” Keep reading