Zaytuna College scheduled to open in September 2010, will open as this nation's first Muslim college.
This is my response to the Fort Hood tragedy and events both associated with it and ensuing from it. I begin by expressing my deepest condolences to the families of all of the dead and wounded. There is no legitimate reason for their deaths, ..... Even though I disagree with the continued prosecution of those wars, and even though I believe that the US war machine is the single greatest threat to world peace.Those are the words of Zaid Shakir, one of the founders of the school. Shakir is looked upon as a "moderate cleric," but a deeper look at his credentials reveals a hatred of the United States and a strong connection with radical Islamist groups.
Another University founder is Hamza Yusuf Hanson a convert to Islam, who, before 9/11 openly showed his contempt for this country:
At the 21st ICNA Annual Convention, held at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in 1996, Imam Hamza Yusuf declared, "I am a citizen of this country not by choice but by birth. I reside in this country not by choice but by conviction in attempting to spread the message of Islam in this country. I became Muslim in part because I did not believe in the false gods of this society whether we call them Jesus or democracy or the Bill of Rights or any other element of this society that is held sacrosanct by the ill-informed peoples that make up this charade of a society. . . . [T]here should be no voting or debate . . . [W]e have no room for ayes or nays."Since 9/11 he has put on the cloak of a moderate, only complaining that every arrest of a Muslim or associating a terrorist act with a Muslim simply a case of Islamophobia.
A further look into the backgrounds of these two university founders makes one wonder if
Zaytuna College will actually be Jihad U:
Strange, then, that two days before September 11, 2001, Hanson said that America has "a great tribulation coming to it." Stranger still that Hanson called Judaism a "most racist religion" in 1995. Or that in 2006 Shakir told the New York Times that "Every Muslim who is honest would say, I would like to see America become a Muslim country." Or that Hanson disparagingly called democracy and the Bill of Rights "false gods" in 1996. Given this, to say that Zaytuna College may not be what it seems may be an understatement.
A man who once claimed that he is a citizen of America by birth and not by choice, Hamza Yusuf Hanson (nee Mark Hanson) is an American convert to Islam who, following the attacks of 9/11, softened his incendiary rhetoric. He may have changed his rhetoric, but he hasn't changed his fundamental beliefs. Proof? He has never explicitly denounced Wahhabism or Wahhabi vandalism of religious culture in Saudi Arabia. To many moderate Muslims, if there's one thing moderate Muslims are defined by, it's their willingness to censure Wahhabism as radical and dangerous. Hanson and Shakir didn't respond to numerous requests for an interview.
More proof comes in the form of Hanson's association with the Radical Middle Way, a British government-financed group of so-called moderate Muslims who urge young Muslims to renounce extremism. But even here, some less than savory Muslim characters speckle its list of speakers: Jamal Badawi, Tariq Ramadan, Abdur Rahman Helbawy--and Hanson.
Shakir, for his part, has yet to completely temper his views, even after 9/11. As late as October 2007, on the website New Islamic Directions, he argues that then-president Bush's agenda was cut from the same cloth as "the fascist movements of the 20th century," mentioning Hitler specifically. Shakir goes on to write that 9/11 "occurred under dubious circumstances that have yet to be thoroughly investigated"--putting him in the political company with the Van Joneses of the world.
Now consider that these men, who have been called among the most influential Muslim scholars in the West, hope to open an institution meant to educate the growing Muslim population of this country. The school will only have two majors, Islamic Legal & Theological Studies and Arabic. In each class, men and women would typically sit on different sides of the room. And though it will incorporate the other humanities and social sciences in its curriculum, it makes no mention of math or the hard sciences. Mahmoud Ayoub, professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim relations at the Hartford Seminary and a Muslim critic of Zaytuna College, says that any attempt like Zaytuna College should be "studied very carefully so we do not ruin the future of young people who, out of religious enthusiasm, would study at such a place and probably get worthless degrees."The students of Zaytuna are basically getting a degree in religious fervor and the school's founders are Muslims with a radical Islamist background, its a combination that may very well turn out to be deadly.