Education

First Muslim College In US Takes Place Of Lutheran Seminary

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

The first accredited Muslim college in the U.S. is expanding and has taken over a 10-acre spread that used to be the home of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. The Bible school had been situated on the lot for 65 years and was most recently known as the California Lutheran University, which announced the sale of the property on Friday, Berkeleyside explains.

It’s now the home of Zaytuna College, just down the road from the ever-controversial U.C. Berkeley campus.

The Lutheran school is “delighted that the property is going to another non-profit, faith-based educational institution,” according to the university’s president Chris Kimball.

When Zaytuna College opened in 2009, it rented a tiny building with just sufficient room for its 11 students. Now it has 51 students — enough to start a program for graduate students.

The mission of Zaytuna is to “educate and prepare morally committed professional, intellectual, and spiritual leaders who are grounded in the Islamic scholarly tradition and conversant with the cultural currents and critical ideas shaping modern society.”

Some community locals are worried that the Muslim college will want to make some major structural changes to the property, and therefore tried to to have the building rezoned as a historical landmark. They were unsuccessful.

Zaytuna College president Hamza Yusuf promise to “honor” the space’s architectural integrity.

“We are humbled and honored by this beautiful display of interreligious cooperation,” he said. “The Lutheran community built and maintained this lovely campus, and has seen fit to entrust us with its next chapter, and we intend not to disappoint them.”

Amna Mirza, the head of Zaytuna’s marketing, told Berkeleyside that she did not know the purchase price of the property, but the previous school had put the property up for sale at $10 million. This particular offering features two Art Nouveau mansions from the 1920s and ’30s, complete with an exquisitely landscaped yard and a bird’s eye view of Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and some of the more beautiful sections of the city below.

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