Zaytuna College in Berkeley, CA, received a letter last week notifying it that it has received initial accreditation to grant a single degree, a B.A .in Islamic Law and Theology. Whether that phrase means something other than Sharia law remains to be seen.
The college is a small one, with only a few dozen students. However, its founders have big ambitions, seeing the school as the first example of what could be a great network of Islamic colleges and universities in the United States.
Two of Zaytuna’s founders, Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir, are American converts to Islam who have gained national attention as advocates against violent Islamic extremism. Yusuf was even threatened by the Islamic State after he condemned the massacre of Charlie Hebdo employees in France.
While more moderate, the two are still strong advocates for spreading their faith. Shakir told The New York Times nine years ago that he hopes the United States will one day be a Muslim country governed under Islamic law, but via persuasion rather than force.
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