On March 4, 2015, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC made Zaytuna College the first accredited Muslim college in the U.S. Accreditation from WASC, or one of the other five organizations authorized by the government to evaluate colleges.
The college began as the Zaytuna Institute, located in Berkeley, CA in 1996, but did not receive accreditation until recently.
According to USA Today, Nadia Chaouch, a student at Zaytuna, believes that the college and its graduates will help to fight Islamophobia, or the fear of Islam, in the U.S.
“I believe that building a Muslim College in America is amazing because this country is so diverse. I think this college will open up many peoples’ eyes to see the real knowledge behind Islam and Muslim people,” said junior Ezza Munir.
According to Zaytuna’s website, cofounder of Zaytuna, Hatem Bazian also feels that this is an important step forward for dispelling fears of Islam in America as well and helping more people understand their religion.
Vice president of Academic Affairs at Zaytuna Dr. Colleen Keyes hopes for the college to be one of the top 100 liberal arts schools in the U.S. The founders of the college as well as its students hope that Zaytuna is the first of many more Muslim colleges to receive accreditation.