A new Islamic college opened its doors in California with plans to educate a new generation of Muslim American leaders. The founders hope to build an institution that will train scholars, professionals and religious leaders to serve the country"s fast-growing Muslim population, which now numbers in the millions.
The three founders of the school are all leading Islamic scholars. Hatem Bazian is a Palestinian-American who teaches Islamic studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Zaid Shakir and Hamza Yusuf are American converts who spent years studying Islam overseas before becoming leading Muslim scholars in the U.S.
Students take classes in subjects such as Islamic ethics, Islamic finance and Muslims in America, as well as courses one finds at a traditional liberal arts college -- sociology, philosophy, linguistics, astronomy.
“Zaytuna"s opening is one of the signs that Muslims have come of age in this country and will be a unique contribution to higher education," said Ebrahim Moosa, a professor of Islamic studies at Duke University.