Don’t Believe the Hype about Zaytuna College by Stephen Schwartz

American Thinker April 29, 2015

The accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) of tiny Zaytuna College, an Islamist project with seventeen professors and fifty students in Berkeley, California that has been called “America’s first Muslim liberal arts college,” has been lauded — and misrepresented — in the mainstream press. A Religion News Service article reprinted in the Washington Post and elsewhere, including the Christian Century, described Zaytuna as “A college that requires the study of both Wordsworth and the Quran for graduation… now the first fully accredited Islamic university in America.”

Yet WASC approved only one program: a B.A. in Islamic law and theology. Moreover, it stated that, “The phrase ‘fully accredited’ is to be avoided, since no partial accreditation is possible.” This distortion may be blamed on sloppy reporting, since such a degree program would not a university make, even in a Muslim country. As disclosed by Zaytuna itself in a March 8 statement, WACS accreditation provided Zaytuna with a vague status as “an American Muslim college [that] has now joined the nation’s community of accredited institutions of higher education.” No mention appears of “full” accreditation or pretentions to being a university. According to the U.S. Department of Education (USDE), accreditation is optional for private schools in California.