According to a study by the Pew Research Center, there were 2.6 million self-identified Muslims living in the U.S. as of 2010, and there will be roughly 6.2 million by 2030.
There are over 600 self-described Christian or Bible Colleges in the country, and yet not a single accredited Islam-based college in the U.S.
But now, Zaytuna College is attempting to fill that void.
Located in Berkley, Calif., Zaytuna’s first class is completing their freshman year this month. Just 15 students were accepted the inaugural year, taking courses in Islamic History, English Composition, Islamic Theology, Islamic Law and Arabic.
The classes are currently taught by four prominent Islamic scholars in a space rented from the American Baptist Seminary of the West.
“There’s a growing need for the community to graduate people to fill various needs,” says Dr. Hatem Bazian, who has been with Zaytuna since 1996, when it was a non-degree granting community education organization. “There’s a thriving [Muslim] school system of over 400 schools in the U.S. There are over 2,000 mosques here as well, so we need qualified individuals to serve in these places.”
With a small endowment, gathered from donors nationwide, Zaytuna’s goal is to become accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in the next few years.
“This is a process. We think it will be just four to seven years,” says Bazian. “But what we’re sure of is the high quality of education and being committed to each student’s success.”