Move over, Electrical Engineering! Get out of town, Computer Science! Take a hike, Biotechnology! Scram, Finance! There’s a hot new academic field in town: Islamic Studies!
Right now it’s only found at a few obscure colleges, like NYU and Yale and Georgetown and Harvard and Columbia and Texas and Indiana and Cal State Sacramento and Ohio State and Stanford and Kentucky and UCLA and Arizona State and Boston College and Claremont and San Francisco State and Swarthmore.
But that all could be changing soon, with the founding of the first four-year accredited Islamic college in the United States:
Zaytuna College will start with two majors: Arabic language, and Islamic legal and theological studies.
It will not be a seminary, although some graduates could become prayer leaders, or imams. Most U.S. mosques are led by imams from overseas, considered an obstacle to Islam’s development in America.
Other students could go on to start American Muslim nonprofits, or become Islamic scholars through advanced study at other schools, said Hatem Bazian, a Zaytuna adviser who teaches at the University of California-Berkeley and Saint Mary’s College of California.
They’ve got a motto (“Where Islam Meets America”), a mascot (“Ali the Fighting Caliph”), and a variety of halal meal plans.
Of course, if this takes off, it bodes well for my plan to start the first four-year accredited Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionist University, Athena Tech. We’d start with two majors: Greek language, and Titan/Olympian Studies. Students could go on to be epic poets, semi-immortal warriors, tragic heroes, or (with advanced study at other schools) satyrs.
I already know what my critics will say: students can already learn these topics at regular universities, where they’ll be surrounded by a wide range of non-Hellenic classmates and can experience life as Hellenic Americans. I’ll just be “ghettoizing” them as Hellenists, they’ll argue.
This is true, of course, but the state of Hellenic scholarship in the West is so anemic that a crisis is looming. The Hellenist community has no leaders who have been properly indoctrinated!
Who will talk for the religion? We have to train a generation!